Meadville Tribune

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March 3, 2013

Roofing project expands to include indoor improvements

MEADVILLE — Requests for roofing repairs are pouring into the United Way of Western Crawford County and Community Improvement Center in anticipation of the Adopt a Roof program, a roughly five-week service project expected to relieve structural and financial strains on eligible residents. And now, the program has expanded to encompass indoor home improvements in case roofing projects are delayed by inclement weather.

“We have received a ton of requests thus far for roofing projects benefiting those in need,” said Lauren Lowery of United Way of Western Crawford County, who opened up the project hotline to accommodate indoor requests as well.

Those who have a roof or indoor repair that they cannot afford may call 724-5948 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. through Wednesday to apply for the free help. Also, skilled volunteers or project donors may call the United Way of Western Crawford County to lend assistance by calling 337-1251.

The program is currently moving forward with property assessments to determine whether certain repairs are feasible for a team of skilled volunteers and workers from AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps.

With labor expected to begin the week of March 11, organizers hope to have projects selected and scheduled early this week, according to David Roncolato, Allegheny College director of community service and Make a Difference Day organizer.

“We’re very pleased with the response of skilled supervisors and their willingness to step up and help us with this project,” he said. “We plan to start mapping out the details of the first week’s work and notify the homeowners.”

A quick turnaround on phone-in applications has helped expedite the request process, Roncolato said. Once residents reach the local United Way on the request hotline, they can rate their potential project on a scale of one to four, with one being complex and large-scale and four running more along the lines of coating leaks.

Callers will be asked to submit financial information over the phone to determine eligibility. If a project is chosen, it will be matched with a skilled supervisor until its completion. The program will ultimately conclude on April 18, according to Lowery.

“The goal is to accomplish at least three projects a week, weather permitting,” Roncolato said. “We’re also welcoming skilled volunteers to help on the weekends.”

While the organizations involved appreciate extra help, funding for materials remains the biggest need.

“We’re pleased to hear some churches and civic groups offered to help feed the workers,” Roncolato said. “We’re still hoping community groups will offer to sponsor a full roof or half a roof.”

Roncolato estimated that each roofing project will cost about $1,000. Monetary and material donations will be accepted through the United Way of Western Crawford County.

Adopt a Roof organizers stress that submitted requests and even property assessments don’t guarantee a project’s selection. Once it’s accepted, however, keeping the labor crews busy is top priority, according to Roncolato.

“We don’t know when projects will be done, but once we say yes, we’ll try to finish them,” he said. “If the weather is good, we’ll be roofing. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll be accomplishing other important projects.”

Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kfekos@meadvilletribune.com.

If you have a roof or indoor repair that you cannot afford to pay for yourself, call 724-5948 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. through Wednesday to apply for the free help. Labor is expected to span between March 11 and April 18. Also, skilled volunteers or project donors may call the United Way of Western Crawford County to lend assistance by calling 337-1251.

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