Guest Column: Rainy season brings deluge of concerns for homeowners in need of roofing, home repairs
Rainy season arrived early this year.
For many of us, that means we have to fire up the grill for lunch instead of dinner, stash an umbrella in the car and leave the pool when the sky starts rumbling.
For others in our community, however, it means six months of catching raindrops leaking into the house, chasing out critters or insects seeking refuge and constantly worrying that the next heavy downpour could cause structural damage.
Having a roof in poor condition can make life miserable. Leaks contribute to wood rot, damaged insulation, ruined drywall and warped flooring. There are health and safety concerns, too, as water intrusion can present serious electrical issues and foster growth of dangerous mold. Ants, mice, rats, squirrels and birds also can find their way inside the smallest of openings.
As a fifth-generation roofer, I’ve seen a lot of bad roofs throughout my career missing or dislodged shingles, cracked tiles, rotted decking, flashing that has come loose, ponding water and outright holes in the roof. Many Southwest Florida homes built in the 1960s and 1970s still have their original roofs, but are bruised and bloodied after battling decades of harsh weather.
Unfortunately, in many cases the individuals and families living under these damaged and decaying roofs are elderly, low-income or physically disabled residents. They do not have the physical ability, or financial means, to repair or replace a roof.
That’s why Target Roofing & Sheet Metal joined forced with Lee BIA Builders Care, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and disabled Lee County residents. On May 13, we began replacing the roof on the home of North Fort Myers resident John Morgan, who owned an auto air company before an unexpected fall and spinal surgery forced him to close the shop. He is now physically disabled and relies on social security income to cover basic expenses, but lacks financial resources for major home repairs.
Mr. Morgan’s 864-square-foot home was built in 1977 and still had the original roof. It leaked. It was warped. Shingles were missing. It could have collapsed at any time. Although we’re a commercial roofing company that typically works on high-rises, office buildings and retail centers, Mr. Morgan needed a new roof on his home, so we applied for the permits and built him a new roof.
Now, when the next thunderstorm rolls over North Fort Myers, Mr. Morgan will be high and dry and safe.
That’s why Builders Care is so valuable. It matches homeowners who face tough circumstances and challenges with construction companies and contractors that can make things happen. They’ve remodeled bathrooms and kitchens, built wheelchair ramps, installed air conditioning systems, rewired electrical systems and replaced plumbing.
According to Becky Swift, executive director of Builders Care, the organization has received 12 applications from Lee County residents seeking roofing services, and that number is expected to increase as rainy season gets into full swing. That’s in addition to the dozens of additional homeowners who need assistance with other types of home repairs.
As a community, and as contractors, we share a responsibility to help the area’s most vulnerable residents. I’m a Lee County native, and grew up just miles from Mr. Morgan. He is a neighbor. That’s why I support Builders Care, along with a host of other organizations that assist local residents in need of a helping hand.
Builders Care accepts monetary donations from individuals, businesses and organizations, as well as donated products and professional services. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all donations are tax deductible. To help, please call 239-938-0056 or visit LeeBuildersCare.com.
Casey Crowther is president of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, a licensed and insured commercial roofing specialist based in Fort Myers. For more information, visit TargetRoofers.com or call 239-344-7496.