Woman has problem with leaky roof

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A Richmond homeowner who works everyday for a small salary is struggling with badly needed home repairs. Her greatest concern is a leaky roof, part of which has already fallen.

Martha Simms is 74 years old. She works 20 hours a week at a child care center and is paid a small stipend through senior connections. With all that's gone wrong around her you'd expect a depressed, bitter person, but she's not.

"Everything can't go perfect all the time," Martha Simms said.

That sunny outlook is in Martha's DNA. A bad roof on a day like today is nothing short of a mess. The heavy downpour is finding the defaults in the roof and dripping its way through into what's left of Martha's kitchen ceiling. The partial collapse in the kitchen happened two Sundays ago.

Martha was in the living area of another room that's showing stress signs of a saturated roof. She was seated at her table eating supper.

"I heard something say bam-arama. I said 'What is that?' When I first walked in here, all this stuff was laying here. The insulation was all over everywhere," she said.

We sort of stumbled upon another problem while talking to Martha. A hot water tank broke Monday, a week after the ceiling fell. Martha has no hot water to bathe or do laundry.

"See what I do, I heat my water in a pan on the stove," she said. "I need a new roof, things done in here, the ceiling fixed. My tank and my floor repaired. They're going to have to take the sink up, to get to the floor. The floor is rotten."

She says, she's called a couple of organizations for help but, they either ran out of money or never got back to her.

"I just kept waiting and they said as soon as your name pops up I'll let you know"

And although she works 20 hours a week…

"As high as these things are, you have to with everything I have to do, see?" she said.

She says she doesn't have the money to make long overdue repairs.

"No I don't, that's why I'm going this way. It's not like I haven't paid attention.  I tried. I did," Martha said.

Martha is the sole owner of her 2 bedroom frame house. She has no children, only neighbors who look out for her and co-workers who contacted 12 On Your Side.

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