Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County takes on home repair, saves couple from heartache

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County has always been in the business of building affordable homes for families, but it is taking on home repair services that aim to keep families in their homes and off the streets.

That service helped to save a Brier couple from the heartache of having to leave their home of 31 years.

In their pink home, aptly named Brier Rose, it has hardly been a fairy tale for the couple over the past few years.

“Unfortunately, my husband last year at this time became paralyzed,” said homeowner Delaney Grayson.

Grayson, who encountered a traumatic brain injury herself, said the home’s upkeep became harder. As she stood with her grandchildren by her side Sunday, she said she could not imagine leaving.

“This is our forever home. We’ve lived here 31 years, and all the family gatherings are here,” she said.

Grayson said she needed help with the upkeep, and so her daughter began research to find out where her mother could get help.

“She said there must be community resources, but we didn’t know,” Grayson said.

And that is how they discovered Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County’s Home Repair Service, which launched last July.

KIRO 7 also talked with Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County’s executive director Steven Li who explained how the new program also builds upon the nonprofit’s core mission of shelter.

“One of our main things that we really sort of understood through this pandemic, especially when it started, was the really immediate and important need to help people stay within their homes,” said Li.

After fielding calls for years about home repairs, construction manager Christian Anderson said offering this kind of help is critical.

“For years we had no response, no meaningful response, and I’m delighted now we’re in a position (…) to finally do something for those families,” Anderson said.

When Grayson reached out to the agency, it was only for help with exterior painting and gutter repair. However, when crews arrived at her home, they realized she needed a new roof.

“We had no idea the roof was bad. And so if we hadn’t had had community help, we would have had to sell the house as-is because we’ve put all the money into being able to make a place for my husband that was wheelchair accessible,” Grayson said. “For us to be able to stay here is everything.”

While it is a rewrite, it’s a real-life look at what happily ever after means for Brier Rose and the Grayson family.

Thanks to partnerships with area companies, the repairs were done at no cost to the family. However, in the future, Habitat Humanity of Snohomish County said it might have to brainstorm and come up with ways to make the repair program more sustainable.