On Your Side: Elderly man needs help with rotting porch

Updated: May. 4, 2017 at 10:00 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A 91-year-old Richmond man, living in a house in Church Hill that has a rotted porch, is getting some much-needed help.

David Winston, Sr. wants to stay independent, but he worries his front porch will collapse around him. On Your Side aired his story, looking for a generous contractor to step up and help this senior with repairs he can't afford to make himself.

He's an active 91-year-old. He doesn't walk with a cane. He still drives and he wants to keep living in his home.

But the poor condition of his porch is an accident waiting to happen.

Sitting on the front porch makes him happy. The 91-year-old loves seeing and chatting it up with his neighbors. Now Winston's quality of life is changing, all because of a falling-down porch.

He sits on a step now - not by choice, but out of fear. Winston says his porch is detaching from his home and is on the verge of collapsing around him.

From the looks of it, he's right. So he stays to one side.

"I don't even go over there," said Winston. "I'm afraid to go over there. I don't go over there. Sometimes I come out here, I look and think it might fall. Wind start blowing or a big rain come."

His daughter, Janie Smith, contacted 12 On Your Side. She showed us loose boards and parts of the porch where a person could fall through. As people age, keeping up with home repairs becomes difficult when you don't have the budget to fix what's broken. She says he's been on waiting lists with many agencies over the years, but nothing ever materialized.

The entire rail is loose and on the verge of falling, and the porch column supporting the roof has detached from the house. It would mean lot to the senior citizen to get a little help and stay in his home.

"I painted this house. I did the painting. I had windows put up all the way around in here when I was able, but now I am at the place I'm not able no more," said Winston. "I can't do the things I used to do anymore."

The Church Hill resident has lived here more than 30 years, and he says selling is not an option.

"No. No. I intend to spend my life here," said Winston. "That's what I would like to do. Stay here the rest of my life."

He's hoping someone will take on the project.

"I can't sit out here, because it's dangerous too, and it's getting worse all the time," said Winston.

Since our broadcast, two companies have agreed to take on the job for free. Several individuals are offering their carpentry skills and labor.  NBC 12 On Your Side will bring you a follow up report when Mr. Winston gets his new porch.

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