Nonprofit begins work to give Orlando seniors new roofs

Leaders hope to help more seniors in the future

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Work began Monday on the first of seven homes to receive a new roof at no charge to homeowners through a program designed to help low-income seniors.

The project is spearheaded by former state Sen. Gary Siplin and involves a partnership with Rebuilding Together Orlando and JMD Global Developers LLC.

"For me, this means a lot because we're able to take some of that burden off these homeowners," program manager Brian Coller said.

Workers arrived at Ernestine Love's home just after sunrise. Her daughter, Jaqueline Love-Johnson, said her mother has been dealing with water leaking into her home for the past two years.

"Shingles from the roof gathering water. There are water spills coming from the roof itself," Love-Johnson said. "With the pools of water that we have been gathering, it's good to know that it's not going to cave in on her."

Earlier this month, Siplin said that the program helps to address the affordable housing crisis in Central Florida.

"If we can save the roof, that avoids the mold and mildew, and they can stay in their house and live happily ever after," Siplin said. "Because there’s a housing crisis, we can’t depend on the government to make sure we have affordable housing."

Project leaders said Love's roof is expected to be completed by Friday and work on all seven homes should be finished in the next few weeks.

Siplin said the program has received dozens of applicants and he's currently working to secure funding to help an additional 30 seniors in Orange County.

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