The kitchen counter around the sink was falling off. The floor had soft spots. The ceiling had a hole. The elderly woman and her daughter who lived in this home survived — barely — off monthly Social Security checks.

“They had no money to do any kind of repairs,” and the woman’s daughter didn’t work, choosing instead to care for her ailing mother full-time, recalls Carl Garrett, a Movement loan officer who visited the home. “This woman’s daughter made a promise to help her mom live out the rest of her days in peace and dignity.”

But she needed help to do it.

She found the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP), a nonprofit based in Charlottesville, Va., that rallied together a small crew of repairmen, subcontractors and volunteers to give the home a much-needed makeover.

Now, that same organization is getting $10,000 from the Movement Foundation to rehabilitate homes in Virginia’s Albemarle County, where just over 10 percent of the population lives below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Volunteers with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program paint and rehabilitate a home in disrepair. The organization uses volunteers and professional crew members to restore homes for low-income homeowners in Virginia. Photo courtesy of AHIP.

AHIP is the latest organization to win the Movement 10k, an ongoing campaign to gift nonprofits and charities significant to Movement employees with $10,000.

Employees can nominate the charities they love by submitting a video explaining how the organization brings life, light and hope to people in need. A selection committee then chooses a winner each month.

Since its founding, AHIP has performed minor and critical house repairs for low-income homeowners unable to afford the fixes themselves. Its clients include the elderly, retirees, people who are disabled and multi-generational households.

AHIP traces its origins to 1969 when University of Virginia students worked to clear the debris left behind in the wake of a devastating hurricane. That’s when they became aware of local housing conditions and the need to improve them.

Today, it receives 10 to 15 calls per week from people who need critical home repairs or emergency renovations, says Ravi Respeto, AHIP’s development and marketing manager. Those calls spike during severe weather.

Movement Loan Officer Carl Garrett (far right) volunteers for AHIP with members of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. With Garrett leading the charge, the group founded AHIP’s Seniors Safe at Home program, which provides repairs for the elderly. Photo courtesy of AHIP.

Last fiscal year, AHIP completed 233 emergency repairs, rehabs and energy-efficient upgrades for 308 people. There’s more work to be done; more than 500 households are on AHIP’s waitlist, Respeto says.

Donations and volunteers make the difference. Garrett, a 20-year mortgage industry veteran who joined Movement last fall, has been an AHIP volunteer for more than five years.

“Being able to go in and install some insulation or repaint the property or putting in a new roof, it’s amazing to think that these improvements that people think of as a chore or trivial makes an amazing difference for the person living on the edge financially,” he says.

10k fills the gap
The Short family roof in the aftermath of a leak. Photo courtesy of AHIP.

The Movement grant will help finish repairs for Allen and Lori Short, who live in a home built in the 1930s.

It has a leaky roof and no heat. The ceiling is damaged, and so is the home’s foundation.

They bought the house with plans to make upgrades over time but, halfway through the kitchen renovation, Allen Short fell ill. He’s unable to work and Lori’s job at the UVA Medical Center is their only source of income.

AHIP fixed the roof but had to put the remaining repairs on hold. With $10,000 from Movement, the nonprofit will finish giving the home a new roof, HVAC system, doors, windows, insulation and fix the ceilings and walls.

“I can’t think of any other mortgage company in the country that does this kind of thing,” Garrett says. “There are so many people for whom getting a new kitchen stove would make so much of a difference because they don’t have a way to cook the food in their house, or have the money to replace it.”

About the Author:

Jonathan McFadden

Jonathan McFadden is a copywriter for Movement Mortgage and contributing author to the Movement Blog. A former newspaper reporter, he is a fan of compelling, narrative storytelling, despises cliches and believes the Oxford comma should be outlawed. When he’s not writing for Movement, he serves at his church, creates content for the Dad Will Do It website and eats — a lot.