Renovations charity has record-breaking year
A record-breaking year for a renovations charity was capped with the restoration of a garage at a family home.
Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda completed 24 projects in 2022, well above the target of 12 to 15 annually.
Its final undertaking of the year was at a home in Southampton where the garage roof had fallen in.
Juanita Crockwell, who lives with husband Howard at the property, where daughter Juanae and her three children also live in a separate apartment, said: “They were so good, unbelievable. They worked very fast and did an excellent job.”
She explained: “My husband has been sick. He’s disabled and he has been on dialysis so he really can’t do anything.
“He used to keep up with things but he’s been sick for a little bit so it hasn’t been easy.
“I had no idea that it was that dangerous but it just happened overnight.”
Mrs Crockwell said: “The garage collapsed and, oh my goodness, when I saw it I couldn’t believe it.
“It could have been a serious thing if somebody was in the way … my poor little grandchildren, they could have been really hurt.”
She added: “The ceiling went right in. I was so shocked and so thankful that nothing happened.”
Mrs Crockwell said she heard about Habitat for Humanity years ago.
She added: “Sometimes someone’s encouraging you to get help and sometimes your pride just holds you back.
“Well, we really needed it and of course I was really surprised — I didn’t know that they worked so well and so fast.”
The 77-year-old said: “I’m very grateful and thankful.”
She added: “I have to praise them because that’s beautiful that they care enough to help those that are having a hard time.”
Habitat Bermuda is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, which was founded in the United States in 1976.
Its website said: “Since its inception, Habitat International has built and renovated more than 400,000 homes with families in need all around the world.”
It added: “Habitat Bermuda was established in response to the need for more adequate, affordable housing in Bermuda.
“By partnering with Bermuda businesses and with families in need, Habitat Bermuda is actively addressing and meeting those needs by renovating or expanding substandard or inadequate housing.
“More recently, Habitat has modified its focus from assisting in large-scale construction and mortgage projects to another Habitat model, A Brush with Kindness.
“This model is about restoring neighbourhoods one home at a time by providing home renovations and refurbishments.
“These projects aim to rectify common issues such as leaky roofs, mould, broken windows and doors, and severe electrical or plumbing problems which can lead to insecure and hazardous conditions for families.”
Hewvonnie Brown, the charity’s project manager, said covering so many homes in a year was “all down to scheduling and manpower”.
He explained: “At any given day we have about four or five guys that work with us steady.
“If the projects that we take on become bigger, we bring on other persons, even try to help young men with their trades.”
Mr Brown said he was unaware as the months rolled on that so many projects were getting checked off.
He added: “We weren’t really pushing for a particular number. It wasn’t about the number. It was just about us digging deep and pushing.
“The gentlemen and myself, we just dug in.”
Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat Bermuda, said she was “so proud” of the team and its record-breaking achievements.
She added: “The fact that we were able to do them all pro bono speaks to the great support that we have had from our donors as well as the success of the Habitat ReStore.
“Now that we have dealt with the backlog of projects that accumulated while we were focused on the Transformational Living Centre, we will now be moving on to our next project, fixing up the St James rectory to become a residential treatment centre.”
• For more information, visithabitat.bm.