NeighborWorks Waco seeks "to build stronger neighborhoods through homeownership, quality rental housing and community-building initiatives." Education workshops are great opportunities to help people become resilient, thriving homeowners, and post-purchase maintenance and repair is an often overlooked aspect of homeownership. Whether the home is aged or brand new, it requires some degree of maintenance.
That's why NeighborWorks Waco conceived "Hammers & Heels," a post-purchase workshop. Although aimed at families with women heads-of-household, Hammers & Heels is open to anybody who is interested — men, women, renters or homeowners — no high heels required! In fact, attendees are encouraged to bring along the entire family.
Offered in local outlets of The Home Depot, participants visit 15 booths for short, 2-3 minute presentations and hands-on activities to teach them do-it-yourself repairs and maintenance tips: unclogging drains, landscaping, energy efficiency, etc. The Home Depot provides trained employees as instructors.
"As a brand new homeowner, the Hammers & Heels event was the perfect introduction to home improvement and maintenance," says Annie Ellison, an attendee and past NeighborWorks Waco client. "The experts were friendly and made me feel completely at ease. I came away from the event feeling much more confident in my knowledge of regular home maintenance and learned some ways I can make my home more energy efficient."
In addition, NeighborWorks Waco's staff offers information on financial management after purchasing a home, and the event enlists the help of staff from the county's Appraisal District to talk with participants about the importance of keeping up with property taxes and the benefits of homestead tax exemptions.
NeighborWorks Waco coordinates each event with The Home Depot to ensure the workshop coincides with the chain's free, monthly event for kids, where crafts are made and hot dogs are served.
"[The workshops] were a lot of fun and the demonstrations were very interesting, but the atmosphere was the best part!" says Lisa Abel, a homeowner and another Hammers & Heels attendee. "The employees of Home Depot and NeighborWorks Waco were all so friendly and helpful!"
Mark Dickenson, Operations Manager at The Home Depot, says, "Our three-year relationship [with NeighborWorks Waco] has certainly opened up [our business] to new customers; but more importantly, it has improved the surrounding community and built lasting relationships."
Hammers & Heels involved 143 families this year. Since the inception of the workshop three years ago, attendance has more than doubled and an additional location has been added.