Community Spotlight: Get by With a Little Help From Our Neighbors
Since COVID first started impacting the daily lives of communities in Portland and throughout the world, it has been challenging to stay connected and maintain a sense of community. For many, lockdowns and social distancing, combined with mask mandates and other preventative measures, while effective, have led to a sense of isolation and disconnection. Despite these obstacles, many have found ways to remain connected with one another. Rosie Logan and her sister Maria Jackson live at the Glenwood mobile home park in Cully and are two such people who have done what they can to stay connected to folks in their community.
Rosie and her sister Maria enjoy taking regular walks with her dog, Milo, around the Glenwood manufactured home park. The walks are a nice way to get outside for some exercise, and to get to know some of their neighbors. They are often trailed by some of the neighborhood cats that Maria feeds. It was during one of these walks in early October that Rosie noticed her 80-year old neighbor Jack’s door was badly damaged and was no longer secure or weather tight. Remembering the snow that hit Portland in February of 2021, she reached out to him to see if there was anything he needed and bought him an electric blanket to help keep him warm. For most, that would be the end of the story, but Rosie was very worried about her neighbor. In the back of her mind, she knew that if temperatures dropped like last winter, the electric blanket would not be enough. After getting some estimates from local repair shops, Rosie and Jack realized that the expenses were more than they could afford. That’s when she started looking for resources to help her neighbor.
Being a member of the Native community, Rosie feels a sense of responsibility to the older residents in the park. She remarks, “I guess it’s traditional to look after your elders and to make sure that they’re okay.” Rosie and her sister share the desire to look after the older members of their community. Rosie credits her sister Maria for being so engaged in what is happening with people in their community. “It’s good to know what’s going on with your neighbors. There’s a lot of elderly people, people with disabilities and they really don’t have family. We were raised in a big family, and you know we always took care of each other,” Maria commented. They also helped people in the park get signed up for food box programs and other services. Both sisters are used to finding resources and know that sometimes you have to keep at it and not take no for an answer. With that mindset, Rosie reached out to Living Cully via Facebook messenger to see if we could help.
Living Cully’s mobile home repair program provides funds to community members whose homes are in need of simple, small-scale repairs. Many home repair programs overlook mobile/manufactured homes since they can be trickier to repair and get financing for, in comparison with a typical single-family home. This often leaves the most vulnerable mobile home residents, such as the elderly and disabled, at risk. Grants and funds from coalition partners like Habitat for Humanity have allowed us to fill the gap that would otherwise leave mobile home residents in tough situations. To help keep costs down, and keep money in the community, we often contract handypeople in the neighborhood to perform repairs. To repair Jack’s door, parts and labor were quoted at over $1,000 from larger repair shops. Demonstrating just how tight-knit mobile home communities can be, the repair was completed by a neighbor in the Glenwood mobile home park for under $400.
The repair is secure, sturdy, and most importantly keeps the temperature inside more comfortable for Jack. Rosie and Maria were happy they were able to help Jack get his door repaired before things got too cold. This neighbor-helping-neighbor project is a great example of Rosie’s approach to her community: “Everybody loves everybody, so we look out for each other.”
Do you have home repair skills? Living Cully is seeking handy people, carpenters, or other folks with home repair skills to serve as paid contractors for future repairs as part of our mobile home repair program. If you are interested please contact the Mobile Home Program Coordinator Mayra Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org.