Lab will help train new homeowners in the art of home maintenance

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Greater Niles Development Corp. has recently added a new home maintenance lab to its Home Ownership Training Program.
The H.O.T program is a training program for first-time home buyers who wish to purchase a home but are unfamiliar with the complete process involved in buying a house.
According to the CDC, an important part of the H.O.T program is home maintenance.
The new lab, made possible with a $5,000 donation from Fifth Third Bank to be used in support of the H.O.T program, consists of a toilet and shower mounted back-to-back on a portable wooden structure, six portable sinks and a dry wall.
During the H.O.T program, which is divided into two separate sessions and each session lasting two hours, the City of Niles Code Enforcement Officer provides hands on information on inspecting the home before purchasing it and home maintenance.
The second phase participants will from now on be working on the maintenance lab.
The lab is mainly for hands on training and minor routine home maintenance but should give people using it experience dealing with minor plumbing problems, wall repairs, painting and small electrical problems, Marsh said.
She said the labs have already been implemented into the last three classes of home owners training and have worked well, although the time spent working on the labs during those lessons has been limited to one hour.
She said during the next home owners training class, scheduled for July 22 to 24, a full two-hour session will be devoted to practicing home maintenance on the lab.
However, those wanting to work on the lab will have to come to the CDC's office on 210 E. Main St., in downtown Niles where the labs are located, Marsh said.
Currently access to the lab is limited to those who have been involved in a home owners training program or those the CDC has helped with down-payment assistance, Marsh said.
But after the July 22 to 24 class, the lab will be open to all homeowners, past present and future, she said.
The $5,000 from Fifth Third Bank, in addition to purchasing the maintenance lab, was also used to send Marsh to a workshop held in Chicago.
The curriculum studied was Homebuyer Education Methods: Training the Trainer.
That training, according to Marsh, taught her how to deliver and improve the CDC's homebuyer/homeowner education program.

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