Elizabeth A. Blair spends her days peacefully crocheting afghans in the living room of her Taneytown home.
When it rains, though, the 75-year-old widow has no peace.
The roof leaks, and she fears water will soon be seeping through the ceiling of her three-bedroom ranch home, built in 1965.
"I canhear the dripping in the walls," she said.
Unable to afford the estimated $3,500 repair on her fixed income, she turned to the state Office on Aging for help.
This month, Blair can put her roof worries to rest.
She will be one of three Carroll County senior citizens-- and 52 others across the state -- to benefit from the Senior Housepitality program, a home improvement initiative sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Maryland, Hechinger and the state.
Contractors visited Blair's home Wednesday to measure the roof. They told her they would return this month with the supplies. She also hopes a repaired roof will cut down on her heating bills.
"My oil burner runs all the time," she said. "This work will go a long way to easing my worries."
At a neighborhood meeting in 1990, Rosalie S. Abrams,director of the Maryland Office on Aging, mentioned the tremendous number of seniors in need of home repairs to Gary Blucher, vice president of the builders association.
"Her comments intrigued me, and Iwent to work on a solution," said Blucher.
As chairman of Senior Housepitality, Blucher met with area contractors. The group made the project its charitable endeavor for this year. Builders have spent the last several months working out the details and evaluating homes.
In addition to the seniors who are having repair work done, all those who applied had their homes screened for basic weatherization needs.
"No state money was involved at all," Blucher said. "All the seniors had to do was apply for help. All materials and labor have beendonated."
Materials will be contributed by Hechinger, a home improvement chain with 24 stores in Maryland, which joined the association about a year ago.
"They caught wind of the program and agreed tosupply materials," said Blucher.
John Hechinger Jr., chief executive officer, said the company expects to donate more than $100,000 tothe project.
"We are very excited to be participating," he said. "The program is in line with our wishes to be part of the community we serve."
Repairs will focus on safety and security, energy conservation and interior and exterior maintenance work, said Blucher. Barring any weather delays, he said, he expects to have all work completed by the end of the month.