Keeping Grandma's House Going: Barelas Home That Has Been In the Family for 3 Generations receives needed Updates

Frances moved into her family home when she was just six years old. There were chickens in the backyard, empty fields surrounding the home, and an arroyo that ran where the driveway is now. She moved out when she got married and started her own family, but eventually moved back in to care for her ailing mother and help raise her nieces. She now lives there with her daughter Tanya, who is following her mother’s example by helping to care for family members that include her grandchildren.

The small house, built over 100 years ago in the historic Barelas neighborhood, has seen a lot of living and was in need of attention. For starters, the roof developed several serious leaks. A roofer that Tanya called for an estimate came out, but never got back to her. Then, an insurance agent told them that the roof was not in bad enough shape to replace. “It just made me want to tear my hair out,” recalls Tanya.

A cousin told them about the Albuquerque Home Preservation Grant Program which Homewise manages in partnership with the City of Albuquerque and Prosperity Works. After getting on a waiting list, the mother and daughter were thrilled to find out that the grant would cover the cost to have their roof replaced and their electrical system brought completely up to date.

“Homewise helped us choose a contractor who was wonderful!” said Tanya. They had the roof replaced in less than a week. “They just came in and did what they needed to do,” noted Frances, “and they cleaned up the whole mess from the leaks.”

When the contractor started work on the electrical system, he found old wiring that was criss-crossing everywhere. “He told us it was a miracle that it never started a fire!” exclaimed Frances. Tanya added that the upgrade was the “best thing ever. Now we can stay warm and do our laundry at the same time without worry.”

The contractor also installed a mini-split heater so that they would not need to rely on space heaters as their main source of heat. “It really makes a big difference,” Tanya shared. “The space heater in the bedroom made me feel like a roasted chicken!” Now they enjoy a much more efficient system where the heat is evenly distributed. When the repairs and updates were complete, Frances was so grateful that she cried as the workers left. “I made sure I got to hug them all!” Much to her delight, the contractor even sent Frances roses at Christmas time.

Although there is still maintenance needed such as new stucco that Tanya plans on having done sometime in the future, she and her mother are very thankful to have the most important items off their list. Tanya acknowledged that an old house is always going to be a lot of work, and she appreciates that there are programs available to help those who have financially challenging home repairs. “I’m just trying to keep Grandma’s house going.”

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