Dion Smith, a single father of two children, was in the later stages of a career as a Youth Detention Officer when, in 2016, a car accident left him with serious and life-changing injuries. A long recovery process left him with limited physical abilities, and an unfortunate end to his career. It also took over two years to get set up on SSI Disability. Many on-going home maintenance issues Dion normally would have been able to do, became impossible and his home steadily became not as safe for his family. So unsafe that Dion actually injured himself again due to a faulty stair railing. After a few years, the needed repairs were also financially out of reach. Dion was enrolled in TrueNorth’s CARE Program which helped with his utility bills. It was through that involvement he first heard about the Healthy Housing Initiative. This initiative aims to create safer, healthier, and more energy-efficient homes in partnership with Consumers Energy. Through this program, Dion had a new furnace and water heater installed, plumbing repairs completed, an exterior door and windowpane replaced, and a new stair railing installed. Dion is extremely grateful for these much-needed repairs and has contacted TrueNorth staff regularly to express his gratitude.   “There were just things I couldn’t do myself… I couldn’t fix the railing, the hot water heater wasn’t working right, and I was worried about that. This program has done so much for us. It got real cold when our furnace went out too. I don’t know what would have happened. For sure, there would have been more falls around the house. You’ve done a whole lot and I’m grateful.” — Dion S.

This story was featured in our 2020 Annual Report, view the full report here.