Doretha Traylor, 71, has not lived in her home since a fire in January 2013 burned it to the ground. When she ran out of places to turn for help, her church, Cornerstone Baptist, stepped in.
Shalom Builders of Texas, a ministry effort by Cornerstone Baptist Church, assists South Dallas seniors by making needed repairs to their homes for free.
Rev. Gerald Davis, founder of Shalom Builders of Texas, said it began as a long-term disaster recovery ministry in Central and East Texas. Now, Shalom focuses its efforts in the Dallas area for senior home repairs. So far, it has helped seven of 15 seniors on their current list of jobs.
Shalom helps with everything from minor repairs to total rebuilds.
For Traylor’s home, the ministry has assisted with sheetrock repair, kitchen installation and door framing.
Davis said that the ministry works on projects when it can find the financial resources and skilled labor.
“The challenge is that progress is based on volunteers and the ability to make themselves available. We used to contract skilled labor when we had the dollars, but because we are struggling for dollars and raising the funds, we mainly have relied on volunteers to do the work so far,” Davis said.
For Traylor’s project, an end date is uncertain.
“She’s been out more than eight years. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” Davis said.
Traylor’s hardship began following snowfall in 2013, when the lights in her home started to flicker.
“The next day, I went to take my nephew to school; when I came back it was on fire. Hot fire,” Traylor said.
After Traylor’s insurance money ran out, she attempted to repair her home by herself. When Shalom started the project, her home was still unlivable.
“The groups from the church in here are the only ones that have been helping me,” Traylor said.
The seniors in South Dallas who benefit from Shalom’s help have often lived in their homes for many years and for various reasons have gotten behind on repairs, Traylor said.
“There are a number of seniors in South Dallas and even the Dallas area that’s lives are mistreated or life has happened or they’ve been in a home for so many years and now they cannot maintain their homes. Many have gotten to the point where they are forced to give up the home because they cannot continue to maintain it,” Davis explained.
Davis calls on more than the faith community to help with these projects.
“We invite anybody who has resources, even financial resources or materials or who may have cabinets or items that homeowners could use. That would be very helpful to help cut costs,” Davis said.
He said such work is a key part of Cornerstone’s principles.
“Cornerstone for years is known for mobilizing missionary groups to get exposed to community transformation. That’s what we’re known for,” Davis said.
While the group currently has a list of homes it is working on, Davis said he knows that “the need is tremendous. There are a number of other seniors with these issues, home repairs and they don’t have the dollars to do the work.”
Traylor has been grateful for the help.
“It’s been a blessing. I tell them all the time,” she said.
How to help
If you would like to donate to Shalom Builders of Texas or provide assistance contact Cornerstone Baptist Church: 214-426-5468.