“It was so easy and it saved me so much money,” said Pat Rowan, a senior citizen living in East Islip, of the recent paint job of her bedroom provided by the Town of Islip, free of charge.
Estimates from local contractors for the same work ranged from $250 to $500.
“The young men who did the painting were so professional and courteous,” said Rowan, adding, “They got it done almost, too!”
The Residential Repair Program, which Rowan heard about through the Senior Connect flyer she receives that is available via direct mail and at all Town of Islip senior centers, provides Town of Islip seniors (ie age 60 and over) with up to five hours a year (April 1st through March 31) of free, minor home improvement services.
The services include:
- Door locks
- Grab bars
- Shades and curtain rods
- Window screens
- Air conditions (installation in spring, removal in fall)
- Exterior doors
- Interior rooms of the home (must be paint-ready with furniture moved)
Cleaning of gutters (early spring and early fall, first floor only)
“The Residential Repair Program exists for Town of Islip senior residents who are no longer able to perform small repairs in their home. Any materials needed must be supplied by the senior,” said a representative for the town.
Town of Islip supervisor Angie Carpenter is proud of the program that has been serving seniors for over 30 years.
“It is a wonderful program that helps our senior residents remain living independently,” said Carpenter. “There are no labor charges with this program, and services like cleaning of the gutters helps mitigate acute problems, like seniors having to go on ladders, and broader problems like water infiltrating a home.”
Carpenter also spoke of the added benefit of having visitors for seniors, many of whom were isolated during the long stretches of the pandemic, with only the TOI’s delivery people for senior meals to speak with.
“The Town of Islip is dedicated to its senior population in providing them with support,” said Carpenter.
The Residential Repair Program has a dedicated line at 631-224-5424 and is answered with chirpy enthusiasm by Patty Lozier, who handles all the logistics of setting up work orders for town employees to help seniors with their minor home repairs.
- “If we didn’t have her here, it wouldn’t run as smoothly as it does,” said Carol Charchalis, Deputy Commissioner, Parks and Recreation, which oversees the Senior Citizen Division.
According to Lozier, the five annual hours usually allots for multiple services and that post-surgical seniors with grab bar requests are prioritized.
Lozier estimates the Residential Repair Program services over 350 jobs a year, although there was a slowdown during the peak of the pandemic.
Typically, a resident will call the number, Lozier will set up a preliminary appointment for the workers to assess the materials needed (which must be purchased and provided by the client), and then schedule the actual work to be completed.
The process from first call to finished project is usually one to two weeks.
“It’s giving everyday life a little help,” said Lozier.
This program is funded by the Administration for Community Living through the New York State Office for the Aging, Suffolk County Office for the Aging and the Town of Islip.