Habitat’s mission is to build safe, affordable homes and to make critical home repairs to existing homes so the homeowner can safely remain in their home. Based on the type of request we receive for home repairs; Habitat has found there is a critical need in El Paso for elderly or handicapped individuals to make changes to their homes so they can safely use their bathrooms. Many older houses only had one bathroom and in all cases the bathroom had a tub. Individuals with physical disabilities and most elderly individuals find they cannot safely get into a tub.
For the past three years Habitat has sought funding for its “Tub to shower program” from businesses, Foundations, and individuals. As part of the program Habitat removes existing tubs and replaces the tub with a tiled walk-in shower with ADA bars around the shower. In addition, Habitat replaces old toilets with ADA type toilets, also with handrails. The average cost of the repair is $5,000-$6,000 depending on the condition of the house.
For this fiscal year Habitat received grants from The McKee Foundation ($8,500), El Paso Electric ($6,000), Isla Carroll Turner Friendship Trust ($10,000), and Bank Of America ($15,000). All of these organizations have contributed to the Tub to Shower program in the past. The monies from the Isla Carroll Turner Friendship Trust are specifically for seniors; the grants
from the McKee Foundation, El Paso Electric and Bank of America can be used for either seniors or persons with a disability.
Habitat initially seeks applications for the program from low income families who fall within the Habitat income guidelines. After the person is selected, Habitat uses a contractor to do the construction. At the present time Habitat is using J Muniz Contractor LLC for the tub to shower
program. The homeowner agrees to pay to Habitat 10% of the total cost of the repairs, through a 2 year non-interest bearing promissory note. Habitat checks on the construction and makes sure the homeowner is satisfied with the final work before releasing the money to the contractor.
A common response that Habitat receives from the homeowners is gratitude for the fact that they can now remain in their homes and use their bathrooms without the fear of falling or injury every time they enter the shower.