Volunteers step up to help Jacksonville woman impacted by Hurricane Irma

Paulette Brown's roof replaced, home repaired by Wells Fargo, Builders Care

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 64-year-old woman in Northwest Jacksonville impacted by Hurricane Irma has received some much-needed repairs to her home with the help of Wells Fargo and Builders Care.

In September, News4Jax profiled Paulette Brown,  whose home still needed major
restoration a year after Hurricane Irma tore through her neighborhood.

HER STORY: 2 widows struggling with aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Brown's roof was so badly damaged there were leaks all over her house. She was forced
to cover her sofa with trash bags and there were buckets in nearly every room in her house. For her own safety, she was mostly confined to one area of her home.

After our story aired, Wells Fargo and a local nonprofit took action to make Brown's home safe to live in.

Wells Fargo had a grant for $12,500, and it was looking for a deserving homeowner in Jacksonville. The bank, in turn, connected with Jacksonville nonprofit Builders Care, and it was decided that Brown was the right match.

Last week and earlier this week, volunteers worked through some of the chilliest days we've had this season.

"Thank God for sending them angels! Thank God for sending me some angels,” Brown said.

The volunteers replaced her entire roof. They cleaned up the outside and beautified it with yard work and new paint. Crews also replaced the drywall and made other changes inside.

Justin Brown, with Builders Care, said his group jumped at the chance to get involved after hearing Brown's story, especially knowing Brown has been alone since her husband died six years ago. 

"For many of the people we help, that was their maintenance guy,” Brown said. “One leak turns into two, and then it turns into mold on the inside and it just exacerbates the problem."

Despite everything she's been through, Brown knows there are others still suffering because of Hurricane Irma.

"I'm praying for them just like I prayed for myself,” Brown said. “There's a lot more, worse than what I'm going through."

News4Jax first learned of Brown's plight through an agency called Endeavors. The organization sent the following statement:

Endeavors provides client-focused services for long-term recovery from presidentially declared disasters. We are currently working to assist with Hurricane Irma recovery efforts across Florida. To do this we work with local community groups, volunteers, and business, and connect them to residents needing assistance. Ms. Brown’s story is an example of community resources joining forces and we are happy to see her home on the way to becoming safe and inhabitable again.

When News4Jax first told Brown’s story, the one thing she asked for was a part-time
job to help cover the cost of repairs to her home. Even with the work being done by the volunteers,
she still wants one. She has been in contact with an employment resource and is now on the waiting list.

Endeavors’ disaster case managers can help survivors with:

  • Recovery plans for individuals impacted by presidentially declared disasters 
  • Coordination of referrals to volunteer groups involved in disaster recovery and construction 
  • Partnering with your local Long Term Recovery Group to access funding for unmet needs 

If you or someone you know was impacted by Hurricane Irma, Endeavors Disaster Case Management team works with individuals at no-cost, connecting them to appropriate resources and creating personalized recovery plans to ensure that they have a safe place to live.

To contact one of Endeavors' Florida offices, email dcm-fl@endeavors.org. For more information, go to 
https://www.familyendeavors.org/dcm/.

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