SA and Merced collaborate to help seniors stay in the homes they own and love

Nothing brightens 75-year-old Rosalia Silva’s day like cooking a big pot of arroz con habicheulas, or rice and beans. She loves to share the dishes of her native Puerto Rico with family and friends.

Damaged gas lines under her house meant she had neither hot water nor the use of her stove. She could not cook for herself or for anyone else, and she couldn’t take a hot shower. Mrs. Silva applied to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas/City of San Antonio (FHLB/COSA) Emergency Repair Program and asked for her gas lines to be repaired.

Sponsored by Frost Bank, the City of San Antonio applied to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to fund the emergency repair program and received the FHLB grant. Recipients of the FHLB/COSA Program apply through the City. Merced’s role in the program is to assess repair needs and implement necessary repairs.

Merced solved Mrs. Silva’s hot water and cooking problems by rewiring her home for electric appliances and providing an electric range and water heater. However, a serious health and safety issue was uncovered during the inspection of Merced’s work on her home.

She mentioned that she might have a water leak, because she saw standing water on the street. “What we learned when we unearthed the main sewer line was that her house was not connected to the sewer main,” said George Hogan, former Merced project manager. “Every drop of water that she had been using was going under the house,” he said.

The San Antonio Water System reconnected Rosalia’s yard line to the sewer main, and Merced hooked up the drain lines to her home. She says her life is much less stressful than it was before the repairs and that she is able to do more of the activities she enjoys. “I am so happy that I can cook again,” she said with relish.