Our Work Matters  - July 2019
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Rain, Please Go Away! Help us ReStore Rosemary's Roof!
For nearly four years, 74-year old Rosemary Burgos has lived in her home with water pouring through massive holes in the roof of the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom when it rains. The damage to her roof is catastrophic and requires a complete rebuild.
The water damage also deteriorated the interior flooring and foundation, requiring more work inside. Preliminary costs for the entire project are roughly $40,000, with $25,000 of that coming in the form of a grant from the City of Fresno. This leaves Habitat to raise the shortfall of $15,000, and we could use your financial support.

Living on a very limited monthly income from social security barely covering her mortgage, Rosemary had no other choice but to let the roof fall into disrepair. The entire family tried to talk Rosemary into selling her home and living with one of them. Each time, Rosemary would get very sad and plead, “No, this is my home, this is where I raised you, please don’t take it away.”
Those words really hit home for the granddaughter that shares her same first name, Rosemary Soto. “My grandmother raised me, my mom was 15 when she had me,” Soto remembers.  “I could have been placed in a foster home, but my grandmother took me in,” she explained, holding back tears. 
And, she wasn’t the only one. Her grandmother had been a foster mother for 40 years giving children a home where they could be safe and taking family members in when they fell on hard times. Even today, another granddaughter and her family of six temporarily live in the home with her.
Never giving up, Soto began spending any free time she had to find organizations that might help her grandmother.  One of them was Habitat.  Soto applied for her grandmother to be considered for a Habitat critical repair project that allows seniors to stay in place.  Within a few days, Soto heard the words she was hoping to hear.
“I was at work when I got the call that my grandmother’s home had been approved for the program,” Soto said. “I was so overwhelmed with joy; my grandmother has done so much for me, now I could do something for her.” Soto’s voice broke as she expressed how her grandmother had always kept her well-fed and in clean clothes, but most of all, her grandmother always gave her love.
Jerry Zuniga, Habitat’s Rehabilitation Manager, heard her words and began tearing, too.  “We know how important it is to preserve homes we already have, and we knew we had to make Rosemary’s home safe, not only for her, but also for the three children under age 6 living there,” he explained.
Councilman Nelson Esparza, who represents the SE Fresno neighborhood, added, “We need to give back to those who have given so much to Fresno like Mrs. Burgos.  People like her make up the social fabric of this community.”
Repairs to Rosemary’s home should be completed in late August to early September.

If you are able to help us raise the balance of the funding needed, please donate here, or use the give online icon below today. For questions, please call Cary Catalano at (559)355-0751.   
Volunteer Crew from Madera Realtor's Association and Starbucks
A little "TLC" Goes a Long Way in Madera! 

The Madera Sunrise Rotary Sports Complex was needing a little "TLC", so our Neighborhood Revitalization team got to work and set up its very first Annual Cleanup in the City of Madera.
The Madera Sunrise Rotary Sports Complex opened to the public in the 1970’s and is heavily utilized. The complex itself is starting to show its age, and needed some attention.  The team put together an action plan to repaint the exterior and interior of several buildings; paint the garbage bins, water fountains and benches; stain the window moldings and doors and sanitize all of the playground equipment. 
“It was a great day for the community, there were soccer tournaments going on, the residents were very welcoming and many came over to thank us while we were working and to let us know how much they appreciated what we were doing; it was a good feeling,” said Youa Vang, Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Family Services Coordinator, who helped coordinate the project with Marina Harutyunyan, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization. 
John Scarborough, Operations Director for the City of Madera, helped plan the project from the City side and echoed Vang’s comments.  “We hadn’t worked with Habitat before, so we didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being the best volunteer project we’ve ever had,” Scarborough said.  “Habitat volunteers are well organized; they know who is going to do what; they bring their own equipment and supplies, and they do their work quickly and efficiently.” 

Scarborough continued, “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Habitat in future years!”  That’s great, because so does Habitat.  “Every year, as part of our Spring Cleanup, we hope to include at least one Madera project and also target specific neighborhoods in addition to other area parks,” explained Vang.
Thank you to our financial partner, Caglia Enviromental and the more than 50 volunteers from the Madera community, the Madera Realtor’s Association and Starbucks who helped make this first-ever cleanup in Madera such a resounding success. 

To learn more about our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts click here. 
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