Volunteer Effort Helps Older Asylum Hill
Residents Remain in their Own Homes
May 16-23, 2007
By The Hartford News
At first, the offer seemed too good to be true.
“You’re trying to give me something for nothing,” Ray Martinez said to himself. “What’s going on?”
But after Martinez got to know the staff of AARP, Rebuilding Together Hartford and the Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA), he realized the offer was good and it was true.
The three agencies had identified the home of Joaquina Martinez, Ray’s mother, at 280 Sargeant St. in Asylum Hill as one of three houses they sought to help fix May 10 to allow older homeowners remain in their home as they age.
Last Thursday, about 30 volunteers, from AARP, The Hartford, the XL insurance company and Rebuilding Together Hartford, descended upon 280 Sargeant St. at 8:30 a.m. and they didn’t leave until after 3 p.m.
They scraped and painted the front porch, fixed a broken front step, installed more sturdy railings on the front steps and landscaped the front yard. Ray Martinez donned a red AARP T-shirt and worked right alongside the other volunteers.
Mayor Eddie Perez, who said he was a friend of Joaquina Martinez “from the old neighborhood,” stopped by to survey the progress.
Ray, 49, who moved back to Hartford a few years ago from San Jose, Calif., said he and his sister help care for their mom, but he was overwhelmed by the work the house needed to keep her safe, especially from falling.
With the home modification, he said he’ll now have a chance in keeping his 78-year-old mother in her home. And, for the first time in a long while, it’s safe for her to walk down the front steps and out into the yard.
As part of its Livable Communities project, AARP continues this summer and fall to work in Asylum Hill, helping to make homes safe for homeowners over 50. Call Charles Botts III at AARP at (860) 548-318 for more information.