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Lee BIA Builders Care seeking roofing and community partners

By Staff | May 25, 2018

A nonprofit organization that has been in existence for more than a decade is seeking help in providing emergency construction services at no cost to deserving elderly and disabled homeowners in need.

Lee BIA Builders Care Executive Director Christi Pritchett said they have seen a tremendous increase in roof repair requests, as well as from people who have failing AC units since Hurricane Irma and the recent weather patterns.

She said individuals who are submitting applications are legitimately in need.

“We don’t have a strong network of roofers that we can rely on right now. With such a great number of people who did not get assistance through homeowners insurance and FEMA relief, there are homes that are going to flood this season if they do not get help,” Pritchett said.

Every single applicant applying for assistance through Lee BIA Builders Care is screened and looked at individually. There are at least two dozen people who are already preapproved for roof repairs or roof replacement.

To help with the tremendous need, Pritchett said they are looking for licensed and insured roofing contractors to lend a helping hand. Those interested are encouraged to call (239) 938-0056, or email builderscare@bia.net.

“There are so many companies out there that aren’t aware of Builders Care. Rather than asking the same companies, it’s time to expand our network. That is what we are trying to do through this public relations effort,” she explained. “We are seeking partners, anyone to get involved from the smallest scale to helping us complete the project. We welcome everyone . . . try to find a way to work it together and make a difference one family at a time.”

After a company shows its interest, Pritchett said they will go to them and educate them about the nonprofit organization and explain what they are getting involved with. She said they will also take the company personnel to the home in need of repair, so they can meet the homeowner and see if they are a good fit.

“It makes it more meaningful for everyone involved,” Pritchett said of making sure the applicant and donor company are a good fit.

Pritchett said they are asking the company to give back their services, labor and materials – 100 percent donated.

She said they are hoping to put the pieces together to do some great things for their friends and neighbors in need.

One of their neighbors in need, Doug Parker, a Cape Coral resident has benefited from the nonprofit organization in the past after finding other entities could not help him because of a reverse mortgage on his home.

“When they found out they could do something for me, they came out to visit me. They have been absolutely wonderful. They have helped me so much already,” he said of Lee BIA Builders Care.

Parker, 77, a retired church organist of 54 years, finds himself existing solely on Social Security.

“I don’t know what I would have done. I have been here for 22 years,” Parker said of his northeast Cape Coral home that has needed repairs.

He explained with housing in Lee County “through the roof,” especially with rentals, it is cheaper for him to stay in his home rather than finding a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit.

So far the organization has helped Parker with fixing his garage door, replacing a spring broken on the door, which was estimated to cost $500. With the help of Lee BIA Builders Care, it did not cost him a dime.

“They had two separate men come out and fix the door. They fixed the button and replaced the spring. It has been great to put my car in the garage. In this area of town we have people breaking into cars, so I have been able to have my car in the garage,” Parker said.

The organization also helped Parker repair his air conditioner, a 14-year old unit. A potential $5,000 repair, again was at no cost to him, after Lee BIA Builders Care found contractors to spend two hours fixing the air conditioner.

“It has been an absolute lifesaver,” Parker said.

Unfortunately a new need has shown itself, a need Lee BIA Builders Care is hoping to find a contractor to help with.

“I am in desperate need of a new roof,” Parker said.

His Cape Coral home, which he bought new in 1995, is showing curling shingles. Although it is not leaking, an inspector said it is something that needs to be fixed soon.

Through all the financial difficulties, the Cape Coral resident has relied on a passion he stumbled upon at the age of 11 when he began taking piano lessons.

“I have a friend who recently went to Discovery Village at the Forum because he has memory problems. They have a grand piano there. I went over to play the grand piano and they asked me to come back and play for the residents,” Parker said.

After playing 19 numbers for 30 people, he felt wonderful.

“They asked me to come back once a month. I need to keep my fingers working, I’m 77 years old. Daily practice is almost a necessity,” Parker said.

Lee BIA Builders Care is a nonprofit organization that was formed by the Lee Building Industry Association 12 years ago. The organization helps elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged individuals with emergency home repairs that they can not afford through traditional means.

“We want people to live in their homes comfortably,” Pritchett said.

In order to provide help for those in need, the organization goes out into the community and seeks donations through builders, contractors and suppliers at no cost to the homeowners.

“We have helped over 350 families in 12 years,” Pritchett said, adding that $4.5 million was put back into the community all at no cost to the homeowners in Lee County.