Local initiative looks to improve Connecticut homes

Dan Svehlak of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Seymour volunteered to be a part of the team responsible for fixing up Helen Narowski’s Shelton home on May 13.

The storm clouds rolling in were not enough to stop a small team of volunteers from making one Shelton resident’s home a better place.

The Church of the Good Shepherd from Seymour sanded, painted and sawed away at the home of Helen Narowski, 92, for the HomeFront’s initiative to improve Connecticut homes.

The improvements on Narowski’s home included a new garage door, exterior painting, a floor for the entrance, and blinds for the living room, all of which were being tirelessly worked on by the by team. They even arrived ahead of schedule to make sure preparations were finished before it started to rain.

“I’m thankful for everything they are doing,” said Narowski.

Outside her living room, the volunteers had just started to bring in new paneling, as Ralph Noel, the team’s house captain and co-founder, started up his buzz  saw.

“There is no sense in letting all these people stand around while wanting to do something,” said Noel.

Narowski’s home was the 10th household the Church of the Good Shepherd has worked on as a part of HomeFront, which has taken the organization across Connecticut as it gets its yearly assignment based on interviews it conducts for candidates. As church member and coordinator Carmie Potash put it, Narowski’s home was their 10th anniversary.

“It’s rewarding to see the people that we help, like Helen — she’s so thankful and everything, it’s so nice to see that we could help somebody,” said Potash. “It’s just after we are finished we enjoy seeing the faces on the people when they see what their house looks like.”

According to its website, HomeFront seeks to assist the households of low-income families and individuals in Connecticut. On May 6 it kicked off its annual HomeFront Day, aiming to fix 60 houses of low-income residents in Connecticut for free. Several teams, such as the one from the Church of the Good Shepherd, volunteer for the repairs.

“We get somebody that needs something and you do it for them, makes them happy,” said Carmie’s husband, Bob Potash, “more happiness in the world, instead of everybody being grouchy at each other.”

HomeFront’s website states that the organization has assisted an estimated 3,000 homes since its start in 1988.

For more information, visit the HomeFront website, www.homefrontprograms.org, or call 800-887-4673.

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