Local Home Repair Agency Intends to Modernize Services
Home Repair Resource Center is brainstorming strategies to deliver services differently, including making materials available at local libraries
This is the first of a series of three articles about the Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights. Look for the second article Wednesday.
Shelves of home repair how-to videos stretch across two walls inside an office on Noble Road. In a room next door, several file cabinets filled with instruction and design manuals line another wall.
For years, the collection has been a dependable and free resource for Cleveland Heights residents interested in doing their own remodeling, rewiring or just plain sprucing up of their homes. But that could change — for the better.
The Home Repair Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that owns the home repair collection and recorded and wrote the majority of it, has been in talks with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System to store copies of its collection, including hundreds of DVDs and thousands of manuals, at the Lee Road Library. HRRC Board President Mike Gaynier said an entire section will be created at the library for the materials, and much of it will be digitalized.
“That’s important because where people are looking to receive information nowadays and how they’re going about how to do home repairs is changing and evolving as technology changes,” Gaynier said. “Many of the young people nowadays aren’t necessarily going to come into our office to learn about basic plumbing. We have to change with the times and the library is going to give us that opportunity to go in that direction.”
The collaboration is one of the many ways HRRC, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is trying to be proactive as it attempts to remain active in the community and true to its mission of helping those without the means maintain their homes.
That approach has become even more important as the agency deals with cuts to its funding in the face of a growing number of people still unable to find a job as a result of the continuing recession.
The federal government has slashed its funding to the Community Development Block Grant, the primary means HRRC funds its programs. Cleveland Heights City Planner Karen Knittel said the CDBG monies the city will receive, and then distribute to various organizations throughout Cleveland Heights, could be cut by as much as 17 percent.
Already, the agency has prepared for the cuts by laying off one full-time instructor, who taught home repair workshops to Cleveland Heights residents and will be replaced by volunteers and a part-time clerical worker.
HRRC Director Kathryn Lad said that the programs offered will not be scaled back or altered as a result of the cuts, at least for this year.
“Down the future, I don’t know,” she said.