Betty Perley with Son George

COVER Raises Another Roof


Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Bill Neukomm

COVER Partners with USDA, Hypertherm, West Leb Congregational Church, Dartmouth Students, & Tarrant Foundation

Betty Perley has lived alone on Dairy Hill Road in South Royalton in an aging mobile home since the 1980s.  She is now in her nineties and is hoping to stay in her home as long as possible. Her son George has done most of her home maintenance including patching a leaky roof.  She knew she needed a new roof but it was tough to pay for one out of her social security check.

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Last summer, Betty Perley contacted COVER Home Repair, a local non-profit organization that organizes volunteers to undertake urgently needed repairs for homeowners with limited resources.  After Betty submitted her application, Homeowner Coordinator Gail Guernsey scheduled a visit to Betty’s home with John Heath, COVER’s Home Repair Director.

“Normally we would install a new metal roof right over the existing roof but this roof was flat. We needed to add some pitch to the roof.  So, we built a post and beam wood structure over the mobile home – like a car port – and fastened the new steal roof to the wooden frame,” said John Heath.

The estimated cost of $8,000 for the new frame structure and the steel roof required COVER to reach out to new partners to get the job done.  One new partner, The Tarrant Foundation, supports programs like COVER that helps elderly homeowners stay in their homes longer.  Some of their funds help underwrite the cost of professional supervision of the volunteers and project management.

Another new partner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a grant program that helps qualified families in rural America pay for needed repairs. 

“We liked the idea of partnering with COVER because we can make our grant dollars have a much bigger impact when they can remove much of the labor cost and concentrate primarily on materials cost” according to Debbie Boyd of the USDA.

According to Mary Sutton-Smith, Volunteer Coordinator, “we had volunteers on the job for all four days of the project, including some of our more experienced roofers from Hypertherm, a group from the West Lebanon Congregational Church, and another group of Dartmouth students from the East Wheelock Housing Community – nearly 28 volunteers in total – not to mention the students from Dartmouth Professor Terry Osborne’s class who were conducting video interviews of volunteers on the job. And George Perley was on the job every single day”

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