Carol City Resident Gets Gift of Home Repairs

A local resident gets a helping hand with much-needed home repairs from
Rebuilding Together.

By Margarita Sweeting Special to the Miami Herald- October 20, 2009

Donna Fales

Angela Butler and family with volunteers from University of Miami who rebuilt her Miami Gardens home.

Rebuilding Together and Choice Hotels International did something for Angela Butler she thought would
never happen.

The two groups repaired and refurbished everything from holes inside her home to painting the outside.
``I remember the day they came. It was a rainy day, and I was holding my breath just waiting. I couldn't
believe someone would actually come and just do this for me,'' said Butler, 50, of Carol City.

Left disabled after two strokes, Butler was in need of major repairs to her home, after a local company
never completed the work.

Butler was working as a custodian for the Miami-Dade County School Board, when in 2006, she suffered
a stroke. The same year, she needed to have some plumbing done in her home and called the nowdefunct plumbing company. They spent four days in her home, ripping up tiles and making holes. But,

$3,800 later, she was left with gaping two-foot holes in both her bathrooms and a valley which curved its
way through her living room and into her kitchen."It was terrible. The kids would bathe and you could see right through the hole into the living room. My room was the same way. You could see right from my room into the shower,'' Butler said. ``There was no privacy.''

She and her children, Ebony, 17, Marvin, 12, Walter, 10, and Walnesha, 9, made make-shift coverings for the holes. Meanwhile, the tiles which had been broken through on her floor left dangerous pieces. Butler, who had a second stroke in 2007, walked with a cane and found it very difficult to maneuver her waythrough the living room.

Meanwhile, the company also disconnected her sink and moved the stove into the middle of the kitchen.
``For months we ate out of the microwave and did the dishes in buckets. It was just terrible,'' Butler said.
Eventually, she refinanced her home and was able to pay for the kitchen repairs. However, she was at a
loss about what to do for the rest of the house.

Then, in June 2008, she visited a friend in Coconut Grove who raved about a group, which offered to help her with repairs in her home. Butler decided to give them a call. Rebuilding Together evaluated Butler's needs. "I remember when I came [to Butler's home], that floor, especially with those little kids here, I knew it posed a greater need because of safety issues. She and those kids were getting cuts and bruises all the time. We had to get someone out here,'' said James McCants, director of community affairs of Rebuilding Together.

"I had already been through so much, been ripped off, my heart. I didn't know what to believe. The day
they actually came and fixed the floor, I sat up all night just staring at it, like someone was going to come
and rip it up again. But, in the morning, it was still there,'' Butler said.

Later, thanks to being one of 17 cities awarded a grant from Choice Hotels, Rebuilding Together and a
group of volunteers returned to Butler's home to complete more work. The project included repairing
exposed wiring, plumbing, painting and landscaping.

Miami-based House Doctors, owned by Lucious McGriff Jr., was there as well, doing much of the interior
work.

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