Before and After Ceilings
Before and After Kitchen
Before and After Wall Floors.
Before and After Wall Ceilings
Gwendolyn Martin will never forget the 2004 and 2005 storm seasons. By the time Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma swept through this area, her single-family home in Riviera Beach had sustained severe interior and exterior damage. Ceilings collapsed in three rooms, and the entire house suffered extensive water intrusion. Wallboards eventually crumbled, and what remained was saturated with mold and mildew.
Because so much of the home’s structure was compromised, every time it rained, water would enter. Even after the city replaced Gwendolyn’s roof, rain water still flooded the home at the ground level. Gwendolyn and her youngest son, who lived with her at the time, had to unplug all appliances immediately after use or before going to bed, in case it rained. City inspectors urged her to vacate the home, but she had nowhere else to go.
In addition to these hardships, Gwendolyn, 52, who is disabled and a military veteran, suffers from pericarditis and lupus. While these ailments had already limited her ability to work, the dilapidated condition of her home, the growing mold and mildew, and the related stress aggravated the symptoms of her illnesses, resulting in frequent hospitalizations.
Just when things seemed like they might never improve, in 2011 Gwendolyn learned about a home rehabilitation assistance program administered by Palm Beach County. In less than one year, with the help of the county’s Department of Economic Sustainability (DES) staff and funding from the State Housing Initiatives Partnership – Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Loan Program, Gwendolyn’s house has been completely restored and is now a place she is proud to call home.
The rehabilitation was undertaken by Sunco Construction and included demolition of the damaged interior and replacement of electrical wiring and circuitry, water lines, lighting, central A/C, drywall, baseboards, tile flooring, doors, windows, interior and exterior painting, and a new kitchen and bathroom. Gwendolyn is ecstatic about the results and feels very certain that without the county’s assistance, she would not have been able to make the repairs.
Despite all she has suffered, Gwendolyn has maintained a strong and abiding faith, which she firmly believes has brought her through her struggles. She makes it a practice to reach out to others in need. “When we open our hearts to help people, the help comes back to us when we need it,” she said.
Gwendolyn is now enrolled in school to obtain a beautician’s license and hopes others will be encouraged by her story. For information on the county’s housing and business assistance programs, contact the Department of Economic Sustainability at 233-3600.