12-06-2016  4:18 am      •     

After city building inspectors handed Ada Little citations for over a dozen required repairs to her property, a nonprofit agency stepped in to lend a hand.
REACH Community Builders Program, Great Kate Construction and Oregon Trades Women donated time and materials on Oct. 16 for the repairs, likely saving the longtime Garfield Avenue resident about $6,000 or more.
Josh Nessett and Richard Puderbaugh, right, assemble the largest improvement project of the day – a new staircase leading up to the front door. Anastasia Howard, of the Community Builders Program, says the no-cost repairs to Little's home include the new front porch, a side porch, back door, smoke detectors, gutters, window repairs, and a new screen door.
The repairs to Little's home are part of the larger Wintering-In Workdays event that provides free home repairs to 20 elderly or disabled homeowners in North and Northeast neighborhoods. REACH Community Development is always looking for partners in the community to donate time, materials and manpower for the projects, which range from minor building projects to minor repairs that help those who are unable prepare for the winter months.
In a small note of irony, Jim Nicks, an inspection officer for the city of Portland, the man responsible for citing Little in the first place, was on hand to help build her the new front porch.
On Oct. 18, REACH also helped to rebuild the back porch of Joseph and Christine Pennington.
"I'm afraid to go on the porch. There's a hole in it," said Ms. Pennington. "It's so important to get this work done, because we aren't able to do it ourselves and couldn't afford to pay someone else." 
The Penningtons still live in the same Portland house they bought in 1962, and where they raised seven children. While many of their children were still at home, Mr. Pennington was injured as an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad and couldn't work. Christine got a job at Northwest Cannery, continuing seasonal work for 29 years.
"We want to make sure people know this special opportunity can help them with repairs and prepare their homes for the colder months," said Howard, who manages the Community Builders Program.
With support from METRO, Bureau of Housing and Community Development, area businesses and local volunteers, REACH will help North Portland homeowners with clogged gutters, leaking faucets, rotting steps, minor electrical repairs, and improving accessibility in and around of the home and more for nearly 200 homes a year.
Contact REACH at 503-231-0682 or visit www.reachcdc.org.

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