Home Sweet Home Makeover

    A Wilmington woman is getting some much needed home rehab during National Neighborworks week.

    Sarah Leonard remembers the day she moved into her home on Wilmington’s W. 5th Street more than 30 years ago, and the accomplishment she felt having a place of her own.

    “Because I was living in the projects, nothing against the projects but that wasn’t for me, so it was good to get my own house,” Sarah Leonard said.  “I still had a little girl to bring up and raise here so it meant a lot,” Leonard said.

    But time has taken its toll on the two bedroom row house.  New ceiling tiles, appliances, windows, counter tops and carpet are just too expensive for 67 year old Leonard who works as a prep cook.

    “When you think you’ve got everything situated then comes another problem so it’s pretty hard at times,” Leonard said.

    But now she’s getting all of those things and more.

    Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware stepped in to give Leonard the updates, so she could continue living in the home and neighborhood she loves.

    Her home makeover was the project Interfaith decided to take on for National Neighborworks Week.  The 27 year old effort organizes Neighborworks members like Interfaith, along with thousands of volunteers and businesses nationwide to help people rehab their homes.

    “We did a little search and Mrs. Leonard’s name came up several times,” Gary Pollio, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, said.

    “Like most seniors on a fixed income has found it over time increasingly difficult to take care of her own home,” Pollio said.  “Rather than to have her live in substandard housing or get to the point where she has to move from the neighborhood that she really loves to live in, we felt all those factors – being on a fixed income, being committed to West Center City, and struggling –  just made her an ideal candidate for us.”

    Pollio says in all the improvements will cost around $20,000.  But one-third, maybe even half of the cost, is covered by the generosity of local companies.

    “Wysocki Electric, Casa Bella Builders, Casale Construction, they’ve all stepped up and not only supplied us with free materials but have also supplied us with a tremendous amount of free labor,” Pollio said.

    Leonard can’t wait to cook in her new kitchen, but is mostly looking forward to a big change in her bathroom.

    “I always said I wanted a shower and just never got one in there,” Leonard said.

    “At least I met somebody, through God I would say, that helped me get the place straightened out,”  Leonard said.

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