Real Estate Report: Program helps Harpswell seniors with home repairs

Some seniors in Harpswell are getting help with home repairs for free. (WGME)

HARPSWELL (WGME) -- Some seniors in Harpswell are getting help with home repairs for free.

From handrails to light fixtures, Bob Bauman and his team are on a mission to make Harpswell homes safer, warmer and dryer for seniors. Bauman is chair of Harpswell Aging at Home's Home Repairs and Resources program.

"We don't do cosmetic work, so if a homeowner wanted to replace an aged light fixture for example, to more modern, we wouldn't do that," says Bauman, "But a defective fixture, absolutely."

Harpswell Aging at Home started this program in 2016 after a demographic study the year before.

"And [it] determined that there are over 600 seniors in Harpswell over 60 who live in homes that need a significant amount of home repair work," says Bauman, "And they don't have the ability financially or physically to do the repairs themselves."

That's where the crew of volunteers comes in, partnering with Habitat for Humanity to make those repairs.

"They provide for us background checks for each of our volunteers, liability insurance for the work that we do, and they do all of the material purchases for us," says Bauman.

For seniors, this work means many will get to stay in their homes longer.

"A few of the homeowners have had pretty significant falls because of the lack of that kind of support in and out of the shower, up and down the stairs," Bauman says, "So the kind of work we do allows them to live there safely and longer, where they really want to live."

Bauman says the response has been overwhelming and they hope to repair 25 homes this year alone.

"I think it makes the community a much closer, warmer, caring place to live in," says Bauman.

To qualify for the program, you have to live in Harpswell, be 60 or older, own the home or live in a family home and have an annual income below 80% of the Cumberland County area median income.

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