Local non-profit wants to give veterans free, new roofs

On average repairs cost $5,000-25,000

HILLSBOROUGH CO, Fla. - Forking over an average of $5,000 to $25,000 for a roof repair would be tough for any of us, but it's especially tough for a veteran living off social security. Now a local non-profit wants to help out our heroes.

Army veteran Clement Calliari is tired of the dozens of buckets scattered throughout his home. All of them there to catch the water leaking from his ceiling.

"This crack runs all the way down there," he said pointing toward the ceiling.

Bubbling and peeling and even mildew. It's getting worse.

"It keeps getting closer," he said.

A problem he's had for years.

"It's a constant watch," said Calliari, "We've emptied as much as five to ten gallons in one day."

But with no money, he can't afford a repair. A new program could stop him from lifting another bucket this wet season.

Hillsborough County and non-profit Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay is looking for 15 veterans. They want to save their homes from Florida's rains and blazing heats.

"So we thought it was important to replace or repair the roof for those who have served our country," said Andres Izaguirre, director of program development. "It is our way also to give back to them."

For Calliari it's now a matter of safety.

"Our great granddaughter spends one night a week and I don't let her in that area because of the mold and mildew," he said.

So how can you know if your roof needs repairs? Start by looking up. See if there are any leak stains on your ceiling. Know the age of your roof. A roof typically lasts 20 years while extreme weather can speed up its aging. Also check outside for missing shingles or discoloration. These are all serious signs your roof needs some help.

Besides being low-income, to be eligible, you need to be a veteran or currently serving.Your home must be up-to-date with property taxes and you must live in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

"They want to help people and that makes me feel good," said Calliari.

He just filed his application and is hoping for once it will be others who come in to save him.

Under the program, applicants must agree to a 0% lien placed on house for 5-10 years. It is forgivable after then. Lien is taken out of title. Building Together Tampa Bay says this is to assure homeownership and that the veteran will not simply then turn around and sell house.

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