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Somos Amigos Enhance Conditions For Homeowners

on May 31, 2017 - 8:08am
Somos Amigos volunteers assist with installing a concrete ramp to allow wheelchair access for a low-income Los Alamos resident. Courtesy photo
 
Somos Amigos volunteers, from left, Karen Humphrey, Shelby Redondo, Robert Trujillo, Michelle Thomsen and Construction Supervisor David Canfield at the conclusion of the recent project. Courtesy photo
 
By MAIRE O'NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

Volunteers from Somos Amigos, a local non-profit group, just finished installing a concrete ramp for a local resident to enable him to come and go from his home in his wheelchair without having to deal with two sets of steps in the process. They also have repaired ceilings and floors in homes, replaced a bathtub with a shower to provide easier access for a person with limited mobility and installed several other ramps and stairs for low-income homeowners in the Los Alamos/Espanola area.

The group recently repaired a water heater for a woman who had been without hot water for more than a year and the fact that this type of need for assistance exists is proof that Somos Amigos has lots to do and can use some more help.

Board members of Somos Amigos of Northern New Mexico are Chairman Kathryn Wilcutt, Vice Chair Adrianna Ortiz, Treasurer Michelle Thomsen, Secretary Shelby Redondo and At Large Members Jerry Ethridge and Rod Gardner. Work is done by community volunteers under the supervision of Construction Supervisor David Canfield.

“This not only makes the jobs very cost-effective, but it provides a point of contact between people in different communities and cultural backgrounds,” Thomsen said. “Our volunteers have included teachers, retirees, physicists, radiation technologists, contractors and graduate students.”

Funding for Somos Amigos projects comes from a variety of sources, including United Way of Northern New Mexico, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Los Alamos (which actually initiated the program), the Con Alma Foundation and contributions from community members. Thomsen says Los Alamos County has assisted by waiving the fees for permits and the City of Espanola has provided the group with low-rent office space in the Beatrice Martinez Senior Center.

“Zia Credit Union recently funded materials and provided a volunteer work crew for a three-day project,” Thomsen said.

The mission of Somos Amigos is to bring people together to improve the health, safety and security of low-income homeowners in Northern New Mexico through performing minor repairs to their homes.

Thomsen says donations are needed for the group’s projects.

“When people make tax-deductible donations, it can mean the difference between a home with broken windows and a leaking roof that causes water to flow into the electrical system, to one that is warm, healthy and secure,” she said.

Thomsen said a $500 donation can fund an entire project for a client or $150 can buy a double-paned window. Smaller amounts such as $50 can pay for a bathroom sink, while $30 could purchase a grab-bar for a handicapped person. Even $15 to $20 can provide other supplies for the group’s projects.

As well as financial assistance, the group needs and welcomes volunteer labor for its projects. Help is needed with carpentry, simple electrical and plumbing, painting and general repairs. Behind the scenes help also is needed for grant-writing, staffing the office, helping with publicity at community events and maintaining the Somos Amigos website.

For more information, visit somosamigosnnm.org, call 505.927.2105 or email somosamigosnnm@gmail.com.


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