August 27, 2021 | Kristen McCulloch
Starting February 8, 2021, Habitat Charlotte Region kicks off a week-long celebration of the 79 families who have participated in our Critical Home Repair program over the past year, which includes Charlotte residents Isaac and Margaret Washington. This is the Washingtons’ story.
In March 2020, Habitat Charlotte Region completed repairs to Isaac and Margaret Washington’s Sterling neighborhood home. It ended a long journey trying to find someone who could make their home a safe place to live again. “We had been trying to get help for years,” said Isaac.
The list of repairs was extensive. Habitat crews repaired failing floor and wall framing in both bedrooms due to termite damage and dry rot. The team also reframed the rear porch and fixed failed hardboard siding on the home’s exterior. Electrical and plumbing repairs were also performed, including new bath fixtures and the conversion of a bathtub to a shower for improved accessibility and safety.
The Washingtons bought their home in Sterling back in 1975. Isaac says their neighborhood used to be more “country” back in the day, but the surrounding area has changed a lot, especially over the last few years.
Both Isaac and Margaret have lived in the Charlotte area for many years. Isaac was born in Fort Mill, SC and moved to Charlotte as a young boy; he has memories of swimming in the Briar Creek behind the Mint Museum. Margaret grew up in a family of sharecroppers in Waxhaw, NC. She moved to Charlotte for work opportunities when she turned 18. Isaac and Margaret have been together for 40 years, and have ten children.
Before retiring, Isaac worked as a handyman fixing things and helping people however he could. Margaret mostly performed domestic work, but she also worked for Lance Packing Company for 15 years. In her retirement, Margaret likes to keep busy by going to a nearby community center for activities. However, since the COVID outbreak, the Washingtons have been safely isolating in their home. Isaac says, “My wife and I aren’t involved in anything these days, but we try to keep up with the programs that provide meals, and we spend most time at home. We watch church on TV.”
Nearly a year after their repairs have been completed, the Washingtons are still feeling the impact of Habitat’s program. Isaac says, “The program impacted us positively, I’m satisfied with program itself. It helps people get things done that they can’t do. Everyone is looking for everything to be perfect, but you guys pay attention to the critical problems. They fixed all the critical issues. My wife got all her concerns taken care of and I’m happy because she’s happy. People don’t understand the value of having things taken care of when you can’t get them done yourself.”
Isaac recalls his time in the Critical Home Repair program, including his favorite moment, “When you guys said we were approved for the repairs was a great moment, and also the day they started on the work. The house was in bad shape.”
Not only did the Washingtons receive repairs to their home, they also gained a life-long family. Isaac says he was surprised by the relationships he has created with the staff and volunteers at Habitat. “I fell in love with all the people who work for Habitat, they really dedicate themselves to the work. I was surprised by how dedicated the team was, how caring and loving they were.”