GALLATIN COUNTY — Studies show a majority of Americans do not have emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses, including home repairs which can quickly become very costly.
“What we do is fix up the homes of people who are low-income, elderly, disabled and veterans. We also have expanded it to single-home moms,” explained Cathy Fisher, the co-chair of the Fix-Up Festival committee.
It’s time for the Bozeman Sunrise Rotary Club’s 11th annual Fix Up Festival application process.
“There are times when you just write a check and help out some type of service and some type of activity. But our club is very active, and they like to physically do things,” Fisher said.
And that’s exactly what the Fix Up Festival allows volunteers to do. Hundreds come together for the one-day event of doing exterior home repairs for qualified homeowners.
“There’s about 200 volunteers the day of, and so, it’s not only our club doing service but providing opportunities for larger groups,” she said.
And of course, like nearly everything else, the pandemic forced the club to adapt. But in this case, it led to a new, separate program.
“Last year with the pandemic, we had to change a little bit of our focus and we did something. We started a new project called 'Roof Over Your Head' and that is just repairing roofs,” Fisher explained.
So for the qualified homeowners, they’re getting free home repairs and for volunteers—well, they’re also getting something out of the deal.
“Every year, we get to know the homeowners and it’s just a really feel-good part of what we do, too. I think part of service is sometimes because we get something out of it too when we provide that service, so it’s wonderful to meet homeowners, and find out just how we’ve changed their lives and made their lives a little bit better,” she said.
The Bozeman Sunrise Rotary Club is accepting applications until April 1, 2021. Home repairs are scheduled for Saturday, September 25, 2021.
To qualify, applicants must be low-income as determined and confirmed by the HRDC (Human Resource Development Council) as part of the screening process. They also must be a live-in homeowner who resides in Belgrade, Bozeman, Four Corners or Gallatin Gateway. Mobile and modular-style homes also qualify. Preference will be given to applicants who are age 62 or older, disabled, and military veterans.
Applications can be found here.