‘It’s a joy’: Greensboro woman living without heat gets new roof, furnace

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After three years living without heat, a team is making sure a Greensboro woman can safely stay in her home.

Mary Stimpson has owned her house on Gorrell Street for more than 20 years. With no working heat, she applied to a list of programs for assistance.

“Without the roofing, I couldn’t get the heat,” she explained Thursday.

“She had several really bad spots in her house and there’s a ceiling in the room over there that’s just almost all gone,” said Mary Welborn, the operations manager for Crossover Roofing.

While canvassing the area, members of UNCG’s Center for Housing and Community Studies found Stimpson's home in need of repair and stepped in to help.

The group connected with Crossover Roofing, who offered to donate the materials and time to replace the entire roof.

“The thought of someone not having heat in the winter will motivate you to do something to help,” Welborn said. “Everyone deserves a roof over their head and to be warm.”

Stimpson will get a new furnace installed Monday, but housing advocates say they are many more people who need help.

“There’s probably literally thousands of people who are in very similar situations to Ms. Mary unfortunately out there,” said Brett Byerly, the executive director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition.

“We already know the cost of construction is very high and basic repairs like these are hard to come by,” said UNCG’s Sofia Mosquera. “There are service providers in the community, but they can’t get everybody, there’s a lot more need than there is supply.”

They won’t always be able to find companies to donate and Byerly explained that a partnership with Guilford County Schools and a $500,000 grant will help address the need.

The Fannie Mae Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge will provide funding to teach students employable skills in construction to address housing concerns.

“They’re training students to address affordable housing needs, to be the construction workers, to be the roofers,” Byerly said.

Right now, teachers are being trained about affordable housing issues and developing curriculum to roll out next school year. It could take a year before repairs start.

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