I think we’re coming to the point, where a decision on our home will be made fairly soon. For the longest time we were waiting on the City (of Des Moines) to hear back from the State (of Iowa) as to whether or not our house is considered historical. Ordinarily, I would love the idea of living in something that has been labeled historical, but in this case, I was hoping for “non-historical.”
We got our answer last week. Our home is NOT historical. That means that the County does not have to adhere to any particular rules regarding the home’s appearance. If it were historical, they would not be able to take the cheaper route of using siding; they would have to wet-scrape and paint the existing exterior. So, the Lead Abatement guy worked up the cost sheet and even with the cheaper route of siding, we’re still at ~$25K to make our house “lead safe.” Honestly, I was expecting that number to come in closer to $40K, so I was actually a little relieved to see it was so “low” – ha!
But then, yesterday one of the lead guys came back to look at our bathtub again. It’s one of those old-school, claw-foot tubs that is very nicely painted. To look at it, it looks beautiful. Except by the drain. They (and we) are concerned about any lead dust that may be leaking through the drain area and getting into the bath water. I just now, got off the phone with the Lead Abatement guy, who said we’ll need about another week to get the dust wipe sample back from the tub. At that point, we’ll know better what we’re dealing with. He was telling me that in the past, HUD has been able to repair/replace bathtubs as part of their “making homes lead-safe” program, but something about grant money changes from year to year and now it’s different.
Once we have an answer on our bathtub, our “case file” will go before the Board of Supervisors to vote. Everything that is done with County taxpayer funds has to be voted on. I get it. It makes complete sense that all those taxpayer dollars have to be put to a vote. But it’s a strange feeling knowing that your house is going on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda. I, of course, asked if we could attend the meeting and maybe plead our case a little? Then the County Supervisors would be able to put a face to a name and hopefully not deny us County funds. But, those are closed meetings. And I’m being told that it is very, very rare for the Board to vote “no” on these homes that need lead removed. Particularly if there is a baby with a high lead level living there.
I’m afraid to get my hopes up *too* much, but at this point, it really does seem like we’ll be able to get our home repaired using County funds. The bathtub does throw a little wrench in the works, but we’ll wait some more and see what the answer is. If they come back with a, “YES, we will fix your house for you”, we will start packing that minute! Because when the County comes in to work, they have you move yourself and all of your belongings completely out for an entire month. They bring you those POD things to store your belongings in, and ask you to find a temporary place to live.
I haven’t been worrying too much about where we’ll live for that month, because we haven’t yet gotten a “yes.” With this entire ordeal, I have learned to prioritize my worrying. And finding temporary housing is currently a low priority. But hopefully, real soon, it will become a high priority.
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