At the end of a long dirt road in Vail, you reach a little oasis in the desert.
It’s filled with trees you can see from a few miles away. Here lives Elizabeth Skidmore with her two dogs, Taz and Mia.
Years ago, Elizabeth and her husband purchased the fixer-upper together, but soon after her husband and mother-in-law became ill. Elizabeth set aside dreams of home renovations to take care of them both. It was challenging. While she was able to make small improvements to their dream home, she couldn’t afford to make all the necessary repairs.
Then Liz’s husband passed in 2011 after 20 years of sickness. She was disabled herself and on a limited income, and felt as though the house was falling down around her.
“I thought I would have to go to an assisted living and lose my dogs, but because of Habitat I was able to stay in my house,” said Elizabeth. “I appreciate that more than you could ever know.”
Through the critical home repair program, Elizabeth received many repairs including roof recoating, a new HVAC system, window installation, electrical panel upgrade, and an exterior wall of her house being resided. Elizabeth also received “A Brush With Kindness,” where over 40 volunteers came out to paint her entire house and help trim trees and bushes.
But one of the biggest impacts Habitat for Humanity Tucson had on Elizabeth? It was heat.
Elizabeth had not had heating in her home for the last 11 years. She recalls her house getting as low at 32 degrees – literally freezing. Elizabeth would have to bundle up in her husbands’ old sweaters and cuddle with her dogs in bed until late afternoon when the sun finally warmed the house.
This winter was no exception. It was particularly cold, and Vail even received snow this year. “Having heat this winter after not having it for over 11 years was incredible,” said Liz. “Absolutely incredible.”
Thanks to donations and hard work from members of the Southern Arizona community, Liz’s house was restored back to the condition that it was in when she and her husband first moved in. She said, “To have someone come out and care this much and do this kind of work and show this kind of respect and compassion is amazing. To be able to stay in my home and have it not fall down around me is incredible, I mean—I can sleep at night,” she said, tearing up.
“You have no idea how much it helps people on a day to day basis just to be able to stay in their home and live with dignity.”
About Habitat Tucson’s Home Repair Program:
Habitat partners with low-income homeowners to alleviate critical health and safety issues and complete needed home improvement projects. The home repair program ensures our neighbors live in safe, decent homes and restores dignity and hope to the community.
The Home Repair program currently has over 100 residents on the waiting list — donations are needed to help more families in our community.