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NARI, Rebuilding Together provide home upgrades to seniors

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council and the Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee organization are teaming up for the month of May to provide dozens of seniors with some needed home upgrades.

“We're installing some railings to improve the safety of the home.  The back staircase leading to the kitchen and the upper unit have no railings currently, and one is ready to fall off,” contractor Jason Polzin said of the groups' work to one home.

Contractors are busy during this National Home Improvement Month, providing upgrades to 50 homes for free.  They’re helping the elderly who can’t afford the work to get around safer.

“You don't want to slip and fall.  Especially if the couple is getting up in years in age -- there's a possibility of breaking bones and things like that,” Polzin said.

In turn, it'll prevent injuries or worse, even death.  According to NARI, 918 seniors died from falls in their own homes in 2010.  That’s more than 571 fatal crashes that same year.  Wisconsin ranks second in the nation for the most falling deaths per year.

“I was thinking about it all the time.  I don't want it to happen to me,” said homeowner William Meidam.  He’s 73 years old and also had work done to his home.

Meidam got smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed, as well as having grip bars and a non-slip mat attached to his shower.

Living on social security, it's work he couldn't pay for himself. “It would've been tough,” Meidam said.

For the contractors who do the work, they say it’s the least they can do to provide a potentially life-saving repair.

“It makes me feel great that I can give back to the community,” Polzin said.

The Milwaukee NARI decided to renovate 50 homes this month as a tribute to its 50th anniversary.

If you would like to have work completed on a home in the future, you can contact Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee on its website or call 414-312-7531.

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