Ola Stevens spent her life making Richmond Heights a better community. And when she needed a helping hand, the community was there for her.
After 35 years as a teacher's assistant, Stevens retired from Miami-Dade Public Schools. She has lived in the Richmond Heights community since 1951 and is a founding member of the Richmond Heights Women’s Club, active in Bethel Baptist Church of Richmond Heights, the Business Professional Women of Dade County, and her neighborhood Crime Watch to name a few.
One day a water pipe burst under her home causing serious damage to her kitchen and floors. The mother of two and grandmother of three, who lives on a limited income, turned to Miami-Dade County's Senior Housing Assistance Repair Program, which assists low-income senior citizens in making needed repairs to their homes.
Stevens was relocated to the University Inn of Coral Gables while the water damage in her home was being repaired. A few months later, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez along with other county officials welcomed her back home.
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“I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me and to God above,” Stevens said. “If it weren’t for this program, I’m not sure where I would be.”
SHARP is a partnership between Miami-Dade County and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami. Since the inception of the program in 2008, 88 applications have been received, five new homes have been constructed; 19 homes have been rehabilitated; eight homes are being repaired; and three are soon to be repaired.
The county expects to build another four new homes and rehabilitate 10 homes this year, and another 10 in 2011. In addition to the home repairs, these seniors have received other needed services, including medical, meals, household items and more.