As COVID-19 pandemic continues, non-profit organization works to renovate homes

KTRE’s T’Ebonie Tanner talks with staff about how they have been impacted and ways they are keeping homeowners and workers safe.

As COVID-19 pandemic continues, non-profit organization works to renovate homes

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Alfred Malone’s home was renovated three weeks ago. He says he is thankful for the work that Neighborhood Strong has done.

“We don’t have a lot of money to get renovations and stuff. But the garage door, the painting and the windows and stuff, they did for us,” Malone expressed.

The Neighborhood Strong organization has been working to help renovate homes for families in Angelina County, while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“We oftentimes level the homes and re-roof almost every project. We replace rotten doors, windows, rotten exterior wood and rotten flooring. To date we have done 70 home renovations and completed four since April,” Wayne Lawrence said. “We have instructed our contract people to wear mask and social distance when they are on a project sight. Especially if they’re working indoors.”

He says in order to be eligible for renovations, you have to be a homeowner and make no more than 80 percent of the average median income of the county or state.

“If the pandemic adversely effects their income, then that’s just going to make more people eligible for our services,” Lawrence added.

Although it has been challenging working through this pandemic, Lawrence says protecting everyone is their main goal.

They have provided curbside service from the main office for homeowners that want to apply for renovations.

“The pandemic, while it is a serious matter, does not relieve us of our responsibility to help our homeowners live in conditions that are safe and as comfortable as they can be,” Lawrence explained.

Projects Manager Kenneth Campbell says they have no plans to stop.

“As we move along and see so much more of the need, it just inspires us to just continue,” Campbell said.

Officials say they are working to expand service to all of Angelina County and plan to branch out to other surrounding counties in the near future.

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