Volunteers provide free plumbing repairs to homeowners in need – Post Bulletin

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ROCHESTER — Tiny Nguyen takes care of her elderly parents full time. There isn’t enough time in the day for her to also fix the house she grew up in.

Nguyen’s father has Parkinson’s disease, lung disease, heart disease, digestive disease and endocrine disease. “I think there are a few more,” she said. His mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2016. Nguyen, 45, had to quit his job as a financial analyst at IBM to care for his parents. Because of this, the family lives off social security checks from elderly parents. Money is never enough to support the family and take care of bills and real estate projects.

“I myself cannot manage all the bills and pay my bills. So I contacted the county and got involved in any programs that can help them,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen is just one homeowner who received free plumbing services on Saturday, March 26, 2022, as part of the Water’s Off program. Three Rivers has partnered with the Rochester Local 6 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union for 26 years to implement the program which provides repairs with donated equipment and labor.

Three Rivers Community Action’s mission is to “meet the basic human needs of people in our service area, thereby improving the quality of life for the individual, family, and community,” according to its website.

Sixteen volunteers gathered early to go to the service of 10 homes on Saturday. Lynette Engelhardt Stott, coordinator of energy programs at Three Rivers, compiled a list of people to help.

Volunteers gather at the Rochester Local 6 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union office before servicing homes Saturday, March 26, 2022 in Rochester.

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Stott told the volunteers that “the homes you serve today are people who are receiving energy assistance” through a federal program.

“We’ve seen our number of applications skyrocket,” Stott said. “Our number of applications increased by 1,200 today [compared to] this time last year.

Three Rivers saw one of the highest claim increases in the state, at 30%. The homes served on Saturday are owned by elderly or disabled homeowners who cannot afford to call a plumber whenever a problem arises.

“For you, these might be somewhat minor fixes,” Stott told the volunteers. “But for them, it’s a solution that they haven’t been able to do because they don’t have the money to hire a plumber.”

There are leaky faucets, damaged kitchen sinks, leaking toilets, broken garbage cans and the faulty shower drain that a homeowner rigged with a screw to hold the stopper in place to ensure water drains. ‘water.

In total, between $10,000 and $20,000 was awarded in equipment and labor costs.

For homeowners struggling to find help and who are “used to being told no,” as Stott put it, repairs and free labor are a heavy burden taken away from them. shoulders.

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