Woman with muscular dystrophy gets home makeover thanks to South Bay housing advocates

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As part of our efforts to help Build a Better Bay Area, housing is one of the issues we've been focusing on. So often we report on the struggles many of you are facing, but today, we're highlighting a pair of South Bay organizations that are working together to help ease the housing crunch.

ABC7 News spoke with Jeronima Waters after Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley teamed up to provide a home makeover that'll not only provide her with some stability, but also a sense of security.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "They said, 'Yes, Jeromina, we're going to help you.'"

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Waters suffers from muscular dystrophy and is currently bound to a wheelchair.

The 56-year-old San Jose resident lives on a fixed income and recently realized that she'd need to get a housemate in order to afford the mortgage on her San Jose condominium.

After doing some research, Waters turned to Catholic Charities for help. The organization connects people seeking housing with home providers who have underutilized space.

"We do the background check, we do the reference check, and the vetting," said Angela Laines, a representative with Catholic Charities.

"We really get to know our clients, like I've gotten to know Jeronima, to find out what they're looking for, and to make that match perfect."

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In this particular case, Waters had a spare second bedroom to rent out, but there was a problem. Her home didn't have any heat, nor was it wheelchair friendly.

As a result, Catholic Charities called up Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley to help make the necessary repairs and upgrades, valued at more than $5,000 at no cost to Waters.

"The ramp... the hand bar... my toilet seat is electric," exclaimed Waters as she shared some of the improvements that had been made to her condominium unit.

As the cost of living continues to rise in Silicon Valley, program organizers say their goal is to provide support and assistance to some of the region's most vulnerable residents.

"It utilizes that home even more, really preserving that housing stock that we have, and making the most of it," said Rebuilding Together spokesperson Deanne Everton.

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Most rooms available for rent range between $750 and $1500 per month.

Interested in the Catholic Charities house sharing program? Click here.

More information on the Rebuilding Together home repair program can be found here.

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