Harold Naylor, executive director of Good Neighbors Home Repairs, is a cheerful, spiritual man. When he starts talking about Ted Caldwell, a gentleman in his 70s who has been receiving help from Good Neighbors, his eyes fill with tears. “Ted is so sweet and so humble,” says Naylor.
Caldwell is a Vietnam veteran who lives alone in Landenberg, Pa., and raises zucchini in a small plot provided by a neighbor. His home was in need of work, but, having fallen on hard times, he couldn’t afford the repairs. A caring neighbor contacted Good Neighbors, which went to his aid. The group’s mission “is to make homes warmer, safer, drier and healthier for qualified homeowners as an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ.”
Good Neighbors has served southern Chester County for 24 years. With its recent expansion into northern New Castle County, Naylor believes the group has taken the perfect next step. “We looked at a map where Chester County butts up against it and realized northern New Castle County fits perfectly,” he says.
Homeowners qualify for Good Neighbors’ services if they live at or near poverty level and are current on their property taxes, mortgage and insurance payments. “There are no age or religious requirements,” he says.
Last year Good Neighbors’ 250 volunteers gave more than 7,000 hours to complete 150 projects. Volunteers help with everything from roofing to painting. Six project managers double as safety officers. A full-time senior project manager supervises. All are skilled craftsmen.
Naylor, a North Wilmington resident, is eager to repair homes in Delaware and restore hope for even more people like Caldwell. Two homes are in the works. “Although there are some amazingly wealthy estates in these counties,” Naylor says, “there are pockets of people who still need our help.”