KC grandma loves her free home repairs and urges others to check out program

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring is in the air, and for many, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your home.

But for a lot of financially challenged people, that much-needed makeover is out of their reach. Many of them don’t know there’s a longtime program in Kansas City that helps homeowners with minor repairs — at no cost.

For two years, Nora Karnes battled a nerve-wrecking problem.

Every time it rained, the ceiling above her second-floor kitchen leaked and caused a big mess inside her century-old home in Kansas City. The leaks ruined her roof.

“It had began to buckle, and I began to see water, traces of water coming through the roof,” Karnes said.

The retired AT&T worker lives alone and is on a fixed income.

Nora Karnes

“I didn’t know what to do,” the 78-year-old said.

A friend convinced her to turn to the city for help. Five months ago, she did.

“It takes a little while to get it, but I got it. Thank God,” Karnes said.

She recently got a brand new roof put on her home thanks to Kansas City’s Minor Home Repair Program.

“No more leaks!” she told FOX4.

The KC grandma didn’t have to spend one penny for her new roof — and that’s not all. Workers also installed a new furnace in Karnes’ basement.

The city’s Minor Home Repair Program has been around since the 1980s. But before you can get any work done on your home, you must meet a certain criteria.

You must live within city limits, own your home and your income must fall within certain HUD guidelines.

This year Housing and Urban Development pumped $2 million into the program. Four hundred seniors and low-income families in Kansas City are expected to benefit from the free repairs and services.

“It really is a great way to not only maintain but also stabilize neighborhoods,” said Assistant City Manager John Wood, who’s also the director of the program.

Wood calls it a win-win for everybody. He said citizens receive much-needed home improvements, which help their property values and their neighborhoods at the same time.

“It has been really successful for the city,” Wood said. “I see it was a way to stimulate investment from existing home ownership as well as hopefully stimulate new investment from other development coming into a neighborhood.”

A beaming Nora Karnes is truly satisfied.

“The city did a wonderful job. I love everything they did for me. I think anyone can use the help to give them a call,” Karnes said.

The city will start accepting applications for its Minor Home Repair Program beginning on May 1. If you think you qualify, just call the Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department at 816-513-3200 and someone will mail you an application.

You can also go the kcmo.gov and immediately apply online.

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