Everything you care about is under your roof

It’s more than a slogan - it’s true for all of us

By Morf Morford

Tacoma Daily Index

If you needed a feel-good story, this is it.

It should not be unusual for a couple of organizations (for profit and non-profit) to work together, build on their strengths and share their resources and expertise for the benefit of someone who deserves it.

GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, is partnering with Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity to install new roofs to those who qualify.

GAF is donating roofing materials as well as providing the labor through the GAF Roofing Academy, two week, tuition-free training program.

The GAF Roofing Academy helps aspiring individuals build the necessary skills for an entry-level position in the roofing industry through one week of classroom and one week of on-the-job training with access to employment opportunities through GAF’s national network of thousands of independent, certified contractors seeking talent.

You may have noticed that across the country, for a variety of reasons, qualified and competent workers are hard to find in almost every area and field.

These are the people that keep our water flowing, our electricity going and literally keep our homes, workplaces and highways (and everything else) functioning.

There are few aspects of any building more important than the roof. To put it simply, if your roof fails, everything else will soon follow.

And it’s likely to be very soon.

A foundation, for example, may tilt, sink or crack, but it will do so (most of the time) slowly.

A roof problem, in just a year or so, can escalate to exorbitant replacement costs.

Rodents, insects and rot love roof problems.

Fixing or replacing a roof will never be cheap, but it does not need to be prohibitively expensive and the basic skills of roof repair and replacement are not that complicated. It is real work, and it has to be done.

A good roof, it is fair to say, as a home or building owner, is your best investment. Which does not mean everyone can afford it. That’s where programs and joint partnerships like this one come in.

A roof replacement can easily cost many thousands of dollars. Not everyone, even those who work full-time, can afford such an essential act of maintenance.

Enter GAF and Habitat for Humanity.

You might think of Habitat for Humanity as an organization that coordinates the building of homes for those who (like many of us recently) struggle to find our way in a hyper-competitive real estate market.

In fact it would be easy to make the argument that Habitat for Humanity saw, and stepped in to take care of, the roots of what has become the homeless “problem” we see in almost every city and on all too many public walkways and roads.

Stable, affordable and semi-permanent housing is the solution. And taking care of housing that exists, and should provide housing for decades, if not generations to come is one key element to keeping housing both intact and within reach for more and more of us.

One of the bottom line realities of home ownership is that homes age and need more attention the older they get. And home owners age too. And yes, Habitat for Humanity has a program for those of us, and our homes, that are showing signs of age.

In Pierce County, to be eligible for a critical home repair under Habitat for Humanity’s Aging in Place program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

Pierce County resident

Own and occupy the home

Age 60+ or a disabled Veteran of the US Military

Household income below 80% Area Medium Income

Willingness to partner by helping with the work in some way if physically able (what Habitat calls “sweat equity”) and paying a portion of the repair costs

If you know someone who needs work done on their home and meets the criteria, send them to https://www.tpc-habitat.org/habitat-programs/repair/eligibility-repair-program/.

Or if you are working on home repair projects, be sure to check out Habitat for Humanity stores. There are three stores in Pierce County; one in Tacoma (4824 South Tacoma Way), one in Puyallup (1329 E Main Avenue) and one in Lakewood (11605 Bridgeport Way SW).

The stores feature every aspect of home repair and furnishing from paint to tools and light fixtures to appliances – and much more.

To see if anyone you know qualifies for their homeownership program, start here: https://www.tpc-habitat.org/habitat-programs/homeownership/eligibility-requirements/.

As they put it on their website, “We emphasize action and accountability. At every stage of the program, applicants must be willing to work hard – knowing that everything they do serves their future.”

It would be difficult to come up with a better operating principle for any aspect of our lives.

When it comes to the GAF component of this program, here are the guidelines and intentions from their website;

GAF introduced the GAF Roofing Academy to provide tuition-free skills training and access to job placement opportunities in the growing roofing industry.

The Roofing Academy provides both classroom and on-the-roof training in a two-week program to prepare graduates for entry-level positions with residential and commercial contractors, as well as roofing product distributors.

Upon completing the training program, Roofing Academy graduates are outfitted with tools and equipment they will need to begin a career in roofing.

GAF aims to train more than 500 new roofers each year through the Roofing Academy, helping provide qualified labor to address the growing demand for roofing across North America.

The Roofing Academy will operate out of GAF’s 11 Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE) locations, mobile classrooms and pop-up events.

In an all too rare shared program, GAF and Habitat for Humanity intends to do at least one major project a month for a deserving home owner.

Every home restored is an improvement to the neighborhood.