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Organizations team up to repair home of elderly Charlotte woman

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TWC News: Organizations team up to repair home of elderly Charlotte woman
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CHARLOTTE -- An elderly Charlotte woman is getting much needed work done to her home. It's one of Habitat for Humanity's Critical Home Repair Projects.

Susie Mae Nichols, 71, has lived in her home for decades, but now it's in need of major improvements. Habitat Charlotte teamed up with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Aging Coalition for the first time to keep her home safe.

"It went from a whole lot of problems to a whole lot of upgrades," said Eugenia Goodwin, Nichols' daughter.

Goodwin was at her mother's home helping dozens of volunteers transform it.

"She was on a walker, so getting through the doors, getting a bath, all those things were tasks for her," said Goodwin.

Volunteers were putting on the finishing touches Saturday after spending weeks widening doorways and remodeling two bathrooms, making them more accessible.

"You want to make sure you're preventing that first fall," said Brian Carney with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Aging Coalition.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and even death for seniors, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every year, one in three adults 65 and older falls, and half of those falls happen at home.

"So the housing around it plays a key part in making sure you've got a safe and long life,” said Carney.

But the expense to maintain a home can become increasingly overwhelming for those on a fixed income.

"It's a tremendous number of homes here in the area that are rundown, families have been living in these home their entire lives, they've kept them up the best they can." said Tolbert Smith, a site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity.

But through an interest-free loan and dozens of volunteers, Nichols can afford the upgrades and be safer in her home, lifting a burden for her family as well.

"I don't have to worry about her with the falling. I don't have to worry about the plumbing and the electrical, things that were just really going down in her home," said Goodwin.

Nichols will be able to move back in her improved home late next week.

Habitat for Humanity has completed 103 Critical Home Repair project in the Charlotte area in the last three years.

Habitat for Humanity and CMAC are always looking for volunteers and sponsors. More information can be found on their websites -- habitatcharlotte.org and www.cmac-nc.com.

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