Habitat for Humanity repair’s Brier couple’s “forever home”

BRIER, Wash, January 13, 2022 – Dee Grayson, 77, and her husband have lived in their “forever home” for 31 years – a gorgeous pink Victorian house named “Brier Rose.” The Grayson family have always loved their home and community, but after suffering some tragedies, risked losing it all if it weren’t for the efforts of Habitat for Humanity Snohomish County.

Grayson was struck by an uninsured driver three years ago resulting in a traumatic brain injury affecting her speech and balance. Last year, her husband woke up paralyzed due to an adverse reaction to a past surgery. Life, to say the least, became a challenge for the Grayson household.

The VA hospital, where Dee’s husband was receiving treatment, determined their home in Brier needed to be refitted for ADA accessibility. The couple purchased a trailer for her husband to live in and used their funds to make it ADA accessible for him, leaving no money to complete a well needed paint job on their home’s exterior.

After some research, Dee’s daughter discovered the Home Repair Service program offered by Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County last October. An assessment of the Dee’s home, Brier Rose, led Habitat for Humanity to complete several smaller repairs, leading up to a full roof replacement that began January 10.

Christian Anderson, Construction Manager for Habitat for Humanity. LT/Kienan Briscoe.

The initial request was to repaint Brier Rose, but upon inspection Christian Anderson, Construction Manager for Habitat for Humanity, noticed the roof was nearing the end of its life.

“The roof is the most important part of a home because it keeps everything below it dry. So, home preservation really begins with having a good roof,” Anderson told the Lynnwood Times.

According to Billy Ramirez, Senior Estimator and Project Manager for Axis Roof and Gutter, the roof should have been replaced a long time ago and probably wouldn’t even last another winter. To him, if it weren’t for the combined efforts of Axis Roof and Gutter, GAF, and Habitat for Humanity, there could have been serious ramifications.

Brier Rose under repair by Habitat for Humanity. LT/Kienan Briscoe.

“There could have been a lot of secondary damage to the house,” Ramirez told the Lynnwood Times. “The whole house could have been damaged, simply because of leaks and such. We’re just glad we caught it when we did and hopefully, we’ll finish up within the next couple of days.”

Chris Anderson, who worked as a home inspector for many years prior to joining Habitat for Humanity, informed the Lynnwood Times that cedar shake roofs, the type of roof Brier Rose is outfitted with, typically have a life span of 25 to 30 years. Since the house was built in the early 1980’s it has never underwent a single roof repair.

“At a higher level [if left unattended] bigger leaks could occur, resulting in a failure of structure with the roof. All of the materials would absorb water and start decaying very rapidly, resulting in collapse,” Anderson told the Lynnwood Times.

Habitat for Humanity gathered resources through GAF and Axis Roofing, coordinated schedules, and began the roof reconstruction with the help of many private and corporate donors who made the 10-to-15-thousand-dollar project possible at no cost to the Grayson family.

“I must be really great to go around, especially around the holidays, and give people such a gift,” Dee Grayson told the Lynnwood Times. “It took 77 years for Santa to come to my house, but what a wonderful thing.”

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Steven Li. LT/Kienan Briscoe.

By providing services like home repair to families who can’t afford them, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Steven Li believes these efforts contribute to families having an affordable home.

“Because everyone is at home right now and that’s the shelter and safe place for people, and given the affordable housing crises, we believe keeping people inside their homes as well as getting people into homes is just as important,” Li told the Lynnwood Times.

Li has been in the Executive Director role for nine months but with Habitat for about three years in different capacities overseeing 16-18 mixed repairs and a couple home repair projects, helping 11 families within the last 6 months, and over 20 families within the last couple of years.

The roofing project should be completed within 5 or 6 days in which Habitat will continue to assist with some minor carpentry work involving volunteer builders.

In addition to roof repair Habitat assists in several other things, from ensuring homeowners have safe access to and inside their homes, to exterior paint jobs although most paint efforts have been suspended until warmer weather.

“If the roof is ok the next stage in preserving a home is the paint,” Anderson told the Lynnwood Times. “Our dream is to help more families but that will come as we gain more resources.”

To those who are interested in volunteering their services or donating visit https://habitatsnohomish.org/

“Habitat is proud to be one part of a greater solution that keeps families away from homelessness,” Anne Heavey, Public Relations Ace for Habitat for Humanity, said.

Kienan Briscoe

Michael Kienan Briscoe (referred to by his middle name 'Kienan') has a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University and has worked as a freelancer for a variety of publications and organizations throughout New York City and Seattle. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important public tools to ensure an educated and aware society of events surrounding them. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry, playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors. He lives in Seattle with his two dogs.

Kienan Briscoe has 285 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

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