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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Understanding the home project

After much deliberation, we chose to do the first HOME project of the fall semester for Mrs. Thelma Horton. She was approximately 65 years old. She had recently lost her husband and was sharing her home with her grown daughter. Her leaking roof had discolored the walls and chronically flooded the back half of the house.Ann Scharff, a senior volunteer, had looked at the house after receiving the application that summer. Since the project would entail a variety of repairs we hoped that we would be able to entice more volunteers.

On the first morning, August 26, 2000, a dozen volunteers met behind Founders to head out to the site. We quickly discovered the roof would be more difficult then we had anticipated.

There were two layers of shingles on the roof, since it was not able to be properly repaired.
It has become standard practice for those who can’t afford to have their roof re-done ask for new shingles be laid over the bad layer and rotted boards, instead of removing the bad layer and replacing it with a new layer of shingles, like at the Horton’s.

Senior volunteer Jill Reemsnyder stated “Once I got on the roof, I realized how inadequate sub-standard housing is. I couldn’t stand on certain sections for fear it would collapse.” The boards on the back half of the house crumbled as we tried to remove the shingles, and the gutter fell off from lack of support beams.

So I returned to Guilford after lunch in hopes of finding more volunteers for the afternoon shift. Ann Scharff took the next group out to the site to continue the work that had been started.

At the end of the first day, volunteers covered the roof with tarps as a precaution in case of rain. Ann called and informed me of the afternoon’s progress. We were thankful for the good turnout and the improvements made so far.
Later that night, an intense storm struck Guilford. It seemed the roof of the student apartments would blow off at any moment. I sat wrapped in blankets on the porch watching the rain and winds bend the trees, and flood our walkway with shin-high water.

I wondered about the Hortons. I felt uneasy and even more apprehensive about the project. It was nearly 2:00 a.m. and I needed to sleep, though the thunder was too loud. I imagine I eventually drifted off to sleep, but at 3:30 a.m. Ann called.

The family had called her saying the storm had caused water to leak into their house and we needed to come immediately. I was concerned, but we couldn’t climb an aluminum ladder in a downpour and lightning storm.

I explained that it was too risky; we had better deal with it first thing in the morning. She was not convinced, but promised she would not attempt to go out to the roof. I tried to sleep but it was hopeless. I just didn’t know what to expect, and I was scared.
To be continued. Please read next week to learn more about this project and sub-standard housing in Greensboro.

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