Putting the power back in your hands: DURA helps local homeowners with emergency home repairs

~ By Taryn Lewis, DURA Housing Manager ~



When it rains, it pours. And then you learn you need a new roof.

As a substitute teacher, Kay earns a living one day at a time. So when a pair of bad dentures required her to take time off from work, money was tight. Kay was relying on her savings account until she could get back to work – and that’s when she was given an unexpected diagnosis. Kay had breast cancer.

With a suspended income, dwindling savings and looming medical bills, Kay was forced to choose between paying her property taxes or paying for homeowner’s insurance. “I paid the taxes, figuring I wouldn’t even have a house to insure otherwise.”



The following spring, a major hailstorm pummeled homes across metro Denver including Kay’s. Her roof began to leak and she knew it was a bigger problem than she could afford to fix without insurance.

“I kept thinking I was going to have to sell my house just to get out from under a bad roof,” said Kay. “I like it here, I wasn’t ready to leave and this would have forced my hand.”

Kay started researching the options available to her, and saw a post on her neighborhood Nextdoor page about the Denver Urban Renewal Authority’s (DURA) Emergency Home Repair Program, which offers zero percent, perpetually-deferred loans to low- and moderate-income homeowners for urgent home repairs. She called DURA and, shortly after, was signing paperwork to get a new roof.

“Joe had all the paperwork laid out very clearly, and even came to my work to get my signature so I wouldn’t have to take time off to do it,” said Kay.

As part of its housing rehabilitation programs, DURA manages and oversees the contractor every step of the way. DURA obtained bids from contractors to perform the work on Kay’s roof, carefully selecting the best one for the task at hand.

The roofers arrived ahead of schedule and quickly got to work. In addition to replacing Kay’s roof, they added gutters – something the house had never had before – and replaced damaged skylights to brighten her home.

“Having this new roof over my head eliminated the stress of worrying about leakage and water damage.”

Today, Kay is cancer-free, and is working on recovering financially from her treatment. A burden she says would have been much greater without DURA’s help.

“DURA put the power back in my hands,” said Kay. “I can look at this house now knowing I can stay.”

DURA’s housing rehabilitation programs have been helping Denver homeowners for more than 40 years. These programs match low-income and moderate-income residents with grants and zero or low-interest loans for emergency repairs and other structural and aesthetic improvements to ensure their home is safe and comfortable. Call 303-534-3872 or visit renewdenver.org to learn more about DURA’s programs and income qualifications.

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