Lewis family ready for winter with new roof overhead

The MacDougal family is feeling more secure about the roof over their heads these days, thanks to a Wells Fargo/NeighborWorks America “Safe & Sound” grant, with a little help from the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, known as HAPEC.

Dale MacDougal has lived on a quiet stretch of the Deerhead-Reber Road for 24 years. He grew up in the Elizabethtown area and has worked in the region all his life. He and his wife Sharon raised a family here, but he is now disabled, getting around with aid of cane. His home is an old post-and-beam type, originally built in the 1930s, with many evident expansions and renovations over the decades. Dale and Sharon both shared concerns about the state of the roof, which had sustained damage from ice buildup over many winters.

There were several other problems with the old house, but it was mainly the state of the roof which worried him, Mr. MacDougal explained recently. The price of the necessary repairs was simply out of reach.

“Before they came, I was afraid it was going to fall down, but they did a good job of it,” he said, describing the work by the contractor on the project, Elizabethtown-based Stevens Construction.

“I’d had bad experiences with contractors before. This is a case where I’d say they did the best job possible. They went the extra distance to make sure it was done right,” Mr. MacDougal recalled.

The MacDougals worked with Bruce Misarski at HAPEC to obtain the grant funding needed to bring the home up to code, and to make it safe and secure for years to come. The improvements to be made were detailed in a work write-up, starting with the damaged roof. The roof covering was to be taken down to the bare decking, where any rotten wood was to be replaced. Ice and water shield was to be applied to the entire roof and galvanized metal lap roofing installed.

Elsewhere, siding was to be removed and the rigid insulation underneath taped and sealed. Missing or broken siding, soffit and fascia boards were to be replaced. The wood siding then needed two good coats of stain, and the window trim was to be painted. Three faulty windows were to be replaced with thermal-paned units, complete with screens. For safety, and to comply with state code, a wooden handrail was to be installed in the cellar stairway. Hardwired smoke detectors with battery backups were required. The work write-up also included substantial heating, plumbing and duct work.

“I can’t believe how much work got done for the money,” Mr. MacDougal said as he surveyed the now-completed project. His home, which once gave him so much cause for concern, is now safer, sturdier and more energy efficient.

“It’s really a load off my mind. It was money well spent,” Mr. MacDougal said.

HAPEC is a HUD-certified Housing Counseling Agency and is a charter member of NeighborWorks America. Based in Elizabethtown, HAPEC offers homebuyer classes, credit counseling and other assistance. Visit www.hapec.org for more information.