Earlier this month we applied for a grant with the hope of helping some very deserving families improve the living conditions in their homes. We’re still waiting to hear if we will get the money needed to make the repairs, but in the meantime, we wanted to share their stories. When you consider donating with us, these are the people in our community whose lives you are touching.
At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but Epifania, 71, takes great pride in her home. She beamed when describing how she was a renter all her life until buying her home over twenty years ago. Empty flower pots hang by the front door, and the fruit trees she dreamed would keep her husband occupied in the yard never took root, but these little touches give way to the fact that Epifania is doing the best that she can.
The majority of her time is accounted for by taking care of her husband. He has been on dialysis for nine years and currently attends three four-hour sessions each week. Epifania isn’t in the best health herself, suffering from arthritis, hypertension, and back pain after nearly thirty years of working in food services at a local school, a job she loved but retired from in December.
She lives in the home with her husband (80), her daughter (41), and two grandchildren (9 and 7). The bathroom that the five of them share needs repair. The tiles on the bottom of the shower are broken, and Epifania suspects that there are problems with the pipes as well. When anyone takes a shower, water leaks all over the floor of the tiny space. They currently use towels to soak up the water, and then pile them in the only sink. The floors are starting to rot as a result. Because her husband uses a walker, grip bars would also be a welcome addition.
When asked what else needs to be done, Epifania would shrug or toss up her hands. She said that she didn’t want to ask for too much and that the shower was really all that she needed. We did see a few broken windows around the home and reluctantly she agreed that those could be fixed as well.
Consuelo, 75, has lived in El Paso for most of her life, and for the last thirty five years, she has lived in the same house on San Jose Road. The pink walls and menagerie of pets liven up the space that is neatly kept and shared with her granddaughter (26) and great-grandson (6).
Regardless of the lovely appearance of the home, there are major problems in the sole bathroom. Three of the walls around the shower/bathtub are missing a significant number of tiles. The family has managed to hang plastic around the area, but water leaks out in large amounts causing mold to form around the bathroom. When asked how long the bathroom has been like this, Consuelo quietly told us ten years “mas o menos.”
After years of working for companies like Levi’s and Atari, Consuelo moves a little slower and her body is a little stiff. She looks forward to long soaks in the bathtub, but the longer the tiles have been missing, the worse the mold problem has gotten.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. These families are only two examples of what we see on a daily basis. We take their struggles to heart, and we hope you’ll do the same. If you’re interested in making a difference in their lives, consider visiting our donation page or you can contact us if you’re interested in volunteering with RTEP.