Utah County partners, volunteers help immigrant family avoid homelessness and hidden danger
Last summer, The Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County was referred to a family in desperate need. This family of six, including three of four children with various disabilities, was at risk of being homeless unless they were able to find help making long-overdue repairs to their mobile home. The community organization had given them extensions, but time was now running out, and they were on the verge of homelessness.
Susana Estrada and her husband, Antonio Ledesma, were both on a path to becoming U.S. citizens, yet they were feeling hopeless as the deadline loomed to make repairs. That’s when The Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County learned about the situation and stepped in to help through the Greater Blessing repair program.
They explained the situation to their new partner, Mint Construction, and began to develop a multiphase plan to make all of the repairs and renovations needed for the Estrada-Ledesma family to keep their home. Additionally, they worked with the community’s leadership to allow for the time needed to execute the plan and ensure the updates and changes would satisfy their requirements.
In October of 2022, Phase 1 work began, focusing mostly on all of the external repairs and renovations needed with a few of the most critical needs inside, as well. These included a new roof, new windows, painting the exterior of the home, new trailer skirting, a new deck/porch, electrical outlet and fixture repairs, and a new furnace. All of the work was done by Mint Construction, their subcontractors, and volunteers — about $50,000 worth of repairs done for just $10,000.
The Estrada-Ledesma family felt extremely blessed and grateful to be able to stay in their home, but there was one more issue to address — an issue that no one suspected at the time.
While phase 2 merely involved some minor plumbing issues and some internal repairs. The Fuller Center of Utah County reached out to another partner, Hot & Soft Home Services to repair a kitchen sink faucet. As standard procedure, Hot & Soft performed a basic check of the home to look for any other outstanding issues that may be of concern. That’s when they found that the carbon monoxide vent had detached from the water heater, allowing the dangerous gas to seep into the home.
The water heater was replaced, along with the damaged flooring underneath it, and proper ventilation was restored. There was no way to tell how long the family had been exposed to the carbon monoxide, though they did say that their children had become noticeably lethargic. No longer, though, will that be an issue as those urgent issues were resolved and carbon monoxide detectors were installed to prevent any future danger.
Antonio works two jobs, while Susana takes on cleaning jobs to support the household. The children all attend school and the children with disabilities receive the treatment they require. The family is stable, happy, and gaining strength and confidence in their ability to move forward in a positive way both financially and spiritually. While they still struggle with tending to the needs of their disabled children, life has improved tremendously for them and they feel blessed by the events of the last year.
The Estrada-Ledesma family faithfully make their monthly repayments for an agreed-upon amount to pay back into The Fuller Center for Housing organization so that FCHUC may use those funds in the future to help more people get the same hand-up. The family intends to increase that repayment amount in a couple of years when their home is paid off, and the staff, volunteers, supporters and partners of The Fuller Center for Housing of Utah County are eager to follow this family’s journey — a journey that is now supported by having a simple, decent place to call home.