Emergency Furnace Repairs Cause Concern

Jessica of Albuquerque was struggling with degenerative nerve disease and late-stage cancer. So emergency furnace repairs blind-sided her.

Jessica faced adversity, but she had her family and her business, SOS International, to keep her occupied. As a second-generation business owner, she continued to work out of a home office space. Jessica also had the comfort of her extended family, including her mother, son, daughter and two grandchildren, surrounding and helping her.

Jessica didn’t have it easy, but she had a strong support network and fulfilling work.

Everything Goes Wrong at Once

The family found water spreading across the floor after the hot water heater burst. And that was before they realized they needed emergency furnace repairs.

“My son’s carpet was wet and we thought the dog’s water spilled, but you stepped on it and [half an inch] of water came to the top,” Jessica said.

The family received more bad news when they learned they needed emergency furnace repairs, an expensive prospect as winter approached.

“Six [valves] went out at one time,” Jessica said. “It was starting to get cold at night, and my daughter has a newborn and a two-year-old.”

With a new baby in the home, the hot water heater failure and emergency furnace repairs had come at the worst possible time. The family couldn’t financially handle so much going wrong at once.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Jessica said.

People like Jessica, who face serious illness, are particularly financially vulnerable. Those battling cancer are two and a half times more likely to go bankrupt, although 75 percent have health insurance. Financial difficulty makes recovering even more difficult.

Turning to a Trusted Friend

Facing a winter with emergency furnace repairs and no hot water, Jessica turned to Eric Maxon, Steward’s Plumbing president. The two had been members of the same business association.

“My first thought was Steward’s Plumbing,” Jessica said. “There’s no one in Albuquerque I trust more.”

Steward’s Plumbing had done Jessica’s plumbing work for years, because she trusted their competency and professionalism. They understood her home’s heating and plumbing systems. It was important to have a plumber who was trustworthy and competent. She didn’t want to seek out and contact multiple plumbers to receive quotes.

Steward’s Plumbing is a HomeServe network contractor, and Eric was familiar with the company’s charitable arm, the HomeServe Cares Foundation. Through its Caring for People program, the foundation provides home repairs at no cost to those who qualify.

“I’ve known Jessica for years,” Eric said. “We’ve worked together on several projects, and getting these emergency furnace repairs done would be life-changing for her and her family.”

A National Company Steps In to Help

Steward’s Plumbing employees passed drug and background checks before the company became part of the HomeServe network. In addition, the company must maintain an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and a high post-job survey score.

HomeServe uses local contractors, because not only are they close by and convenient, but they are familiar with local permitting processes and building codes.

Eric reached out to HomeServe and proposed Jessica and her family as candidates for HomeServe Cares. HomeServe agreed to help the family and dispatched Steward’s Plumbing to replace the hot water heater and make the emergency furnace repairs.

“I couldn’t believe he and HomeServe worked so diligently to make this happen for me,” Jessica said. “Thank you, HomeServe!”

Utilities are looking for opportunities to connect more deeply with customers. HomeServe helps to improve customer engagement for our utility partners through the integration of complementary home repair programs with utility initiatives such as energy efficiency and safety, offering customers greater access and choice. Partnership allows the utility to leverage HomeServe’s marketing and communications expertise to educate their customers through a variety of channels. For more information, contact us.

Introducing the HomeServe Cares Foundation

We are proud to share that HomeServe launched the HomeServe Cares Foundation, a four-pillar Corporate Social Responsibility program, this past April. The Foundation is backed by a substantial financial commitment to support the mission of Spreading Hope and Supporting Communities One Home at a Time. HomeServe has a long legacy of giving back to communities and helping homeowners in need. The HomeServe Cares Foundation brings together the company’s existing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, as well as many new ones, to make an even greater impact.

Four Pillars of the HomeServe Cares Foundation

HomeServe Cares Foundation introduced.

Caring For People – This is an expansion of the existing HomeServe Cares program through which the company completes home repair jobs for disadvantaged homeowners who are facing a home emergency they are unable to handle financially. In 2018, HomeServe completed 103 HomeServe Cares jobs across 27 states.

Caring For Community – Municipalities and non-profits can apply for grants to help fund community-based projects. The two grants were awarded. Rochester, New York-based The Arc of Monroe County will use their grant to enhance and improve the conditions in their residential facilities with a focus on remodeling an aging bathroom to make it more accessible. The City of Tampa, Florida’s Parks & Recreation Department will fund the installation of ADA-compliant beach mats in order to provide access for mobility-challenged locals and visitors. Another round of grants focused on home repair programs that benefit low-income seniors and veterans has just been announced and will be awarded mid-September.

Caring For Vets – HomeServe’s veterans hiring initiative connects current and transitioning military men and women with the HomeServe contractor network with the objective of placing veterans into paid apprenticeships in the skilled trades.

Caring For Good – This pillar includes an employee-directed charitable matching program, our Helping Hands program to assist employees faced with a personal crisis, and employee volunteer efforts. HomeServe provides its employees with eight hours of paid leave each year to volunteer in their communities. 

For more information, click here

HomeServe Launches HomeServe Cares Foundation

Robust, Four Pillar Corporate Social Responsibility Program Spreads Hope and Supports Communities

Norwalk, Conn. (April 2, 2019) – Today, HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home repair solutions, launched the HomeServe Cares Foundation, a new, four pillar Corporate Social Responsibility program. The HomeServe Cares Foundation is backed by a substantial financial commitment to support the mission of “Spreading Hope and Supporting Communities One Home at a Time.”

HomeServe has a long legacy of giving back to communities and helping homeowners in need. The launch of the HomeServe Cares Foundation will bring together the company’s existing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, as well as many new ones, to make an even greater impact. Details about the HomeServe Cares Foundation are available on the new website, https://www.homeserveusa.com/sc/corporate-social-responsibility.

The four pillars of the HomeServe Cares Foundation are:

  1. Caring For People – This is an expansion of the existing HomeServe Cares program through which the company completes home repair jobs for eligible homeowners who are not customers and who find themselves facing a home emergency they are unable to handle financially. In 2018, HomeServe completed 103 HomeServe Cares jobs across 27 states.
  2. Caring For Community – Municipalities and non-profits can apply for grants to help fund community-based projects. Grant applications will be accepted beginning Wednesday April 10, 2019. At that time, full details will be published here and on twitter @HomeServeUSNews. Priority will be given to projects that focus on aging in place, homeless or disabled veterans, low income housing and residents, and park accessibility improvements.
  3. Caring For Vets – HomeServe’s newly-launched veterans hiring initiative will be wrapped into the HomeServe Cares Foundation. The initiative connects current and transitioning military men and women with the HomeServe contractor network with the objective of placing veterans into paid apprenticeships in the trades.
  4. Caring For Good – HomeServe will launch an employee-directed corporate charitable matching program and implement measures to make it easier for HomeServe employees to participate in volunteer efforts. HomeServe already provides its employees with eight hours of paid leave each year to volunteer. In addition, HomeServe will formalize an existing Helping Hands program to better assist employees faced with a personal crisis.

“HomeServe is committed to putting people at the heart of everything we do, and that includes engaging in socially responsible activities,” said HomeServe CEO John Kitzie. “With the HomeServe Cares Foundation, we will support communities, improve the quality of life for residents and our employees, and assist veterans and vulnerable homeowners. HomeServe is completely committed to spreading hope and supporting communities, one home at a time.”

Throughout the month of April, HomeServe will release additional details about the four pillars of the HomeServe Cares Foundation with details posted here and on Twitter @HomeServeUSNews.

About HomeServe

HomeServe USA Corp. (HomeServe) is a leading provider of home repair solutions serving 3.7 million customers across the US and Canada under the HomeServe, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) and Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) names.

Since 2003, HomeServe has been protecting homeowners against the expense and inconvenience of water, sewer, electrical, HVAC and other home repair emergencies by providing affordable repair coverage, installations and quality local service.

HomeServe is an A+ rated Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, dedicated to being a customer-focused company supplying best-in-class repair plans and other services to consumers directly and through over 600 leading municipal, utility and association partners.

HomeServe is a proud sponsor of This Old House on PBS, working together to provide homeowners expert advice on maintaining, enhancing and protecting their homes. For more information about HomeServe, a Connecticut Top Workplace winner and recipient of thirty-three 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, or to learn more about HomeServe’s affordable repair plans, please go to www.homeserveusa.com.

To connect with HomeServe on Facebook and Twitter, please visit www.facebook.com/homeserveusa and www.twitter.com/homeserveusa.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Myles Meehan
HomeServe USA
Phone: 203-356-4259
Email: Myles.Meehan@homeserveusa.com

Merrie Leininger
Hill+Knowlton Strategies for HomeServe USA
Phone: 775-846-0664
Email: homeserve@hkstrategies.com

HomeServe Cares About Our Customers and Our Communities

HomeServe USA is dedicated to being a good corporate citizen and making a positive impact on our partners’, employees’ and contractors’ communities. The HomeServe Cares Program assists disadvantaged homeowners faced with a repair emergency who don’t have a service plan or the necessary funds to cover the repair.

“We started the HomeServe Cares program because we realized that we could leverage our financial resources and great network of contractors to help homeowners with urgent repair needs who had nowhere to turn for help,” said Myles Meehan, SVP of Public Relations at HomeServe. “In many cases, we are literally helping to keep people in their homes and improving the quality of their daily life.”omeServe has committed to providing pro-bono services to those in need. Our partners and network contractors help to identify potential recipients. Many homeowners aren’t financially prepared for an emergency home repair, with one-in-five having no money set aside for such an occurrence. Sixty-five percent of those with a household income of less than $50,000 having $500 or less to address a repair emergency.  

HomeServe Cares Gives Back

HomeServe Cares funding has assisted many citizens since the program’s inception five years ago. Yonkers, NY homeowner Evangeline’s water service line sprang a leak, and she needed to replace the entire lead line, HomeServe was there to help through the efforts of network contractor Josephine O’Grady and regional operations manager Mary Michell. In Minneapolis, Itzel wasn’t aware of her responsibility to maintain her home’s water service line, until it began leaking – on the other side of the street. She was faced with a bill for thousands of dollars, until HomeServe stepped in.

Steward’s Plumbing President Eric Maxon, in Albequerque, NM, helped Jessica replace her hot water heater and repair her heating system and helped Dave and Sarah replace their hot water heater when he learned both households had members fighting cancer. In Salt Lake City, Helen’s sewer line had been overtaken by roots, and she turned to HomeServe.

Brooklyn network contractor Balkan Plumbing and HomeServe worked hand-in-hand to prevent a homeowner from receiving a $500 fine and having her water shut offHomeServe was there in Memphis and Wichita, when homeowners in those cities had a problem they couldn’t address on their own. Katy received a water bill for $1,000, and learned she was responsible for her water service line in Hyattsville, Maryland, but HomeServe was there to help with the replacement of her line.

In Fort Worth, network contractor Robin Tusa noticed her customer, Tijuana, had to unplug her television to plug in Robin’s equipment. She alerted HomeServe, and an electrician was sent to Tijuana’s home to make sure her electrical system was repaired and not a fire hazard.

Focus on Veterans

HomeServe Cares has assisted veterans in need. In Waukeagan, Illinois, World War II and Korean War veteran Paul had six inches of grey water in his basement after a sewer backup. HomeServe dispatched a plumber after hours to clear his basement, then had a cleanout installed to prevent it from happening again. Edward, a World War II veteran, was without heat in January after his Lynn, Massachusetts home flooded, leaving more than three feet of water in his basement. HomeServe dispatched a team of plumbers to replace it at no cost to Edward upon learning about his predicament.

Corporate Responsibility

HomeServe’s corporate social responsibility initiatives also serve as a platform for meaningful employee engagement. In addition to providing employees a paid day off to volunteer for the charitable cause of their choice, HomeServe provides support to a wide range of great causes of interest to our employees, from breast cancer awareness to Habitat for Humanity to the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger Dragon Boat Festival – an event that draws great participation and enthusiasm from employees working out of our newly constructed Chattanooga, Tennessee, call center.

HomeServe USA provides low-cost emergency home repair programs through partnerships with utilities and municipalities. Our nationwide network of licensed, insured and vetted contractors offers your customers freedom from the stress of emergency home repairs. We have more than 400 seats in 24/7/365 call centers in Chattanooga and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. For information, contact us.  

Homeowner’s High Water Bill Due to Leak Fixed by HomeServe Cares

Katy C. of Hyattsville, Maryland, had a nasty surprise waiting in her mailbox – a water bill for $1,000.

“It was usually $80 or $100,” she said of the stunning notice.

Katy didn’t understand how her bill could have spiked so high without corresponding water use, so she called her utility, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, who sent a technician out to locate the source of Katy’s high bill. The technician found more bad news for Katy. Her high water bill was due to a leak in her water service line, which allowed nearly a thousand dollars of potable water to drain into the ground. The technician explained that the leak was between the water meter and Katy’s home, and was her responsibility.

“The technician who came out said, ‘I’m very sorry to tell you, that from the water meter on this side [toward the main] is the county’s, and on this side [toward the home] is your responsibility,’” Katy said.

Katy was a first-time homeowner, having purchased her home only three years before, and she didn’t know she was responsible for the water service line.

“I had no idea,” she said. “I wouldn’t have known if this hadn’t happened.”

Katy’s first thought was to enlist the help of some of her handier friends and relatives, but learned that anyone working on her service line had to be a licensed and insured plumber to ensure the work was inspected and insured. But that meant the repair would result in a several thousand dollar invoice, a high water bill due to a leak. Katy was responsible for repairing fifteen feet of her copper water line, but she didn’t have the money on hand to do it.

A friend suggested she do some internet sleuthing and see any organization would help her with the bill for the work, and, after some online digging, Katy learned about HomeServe Cares, a charitable program operated by HomeServe USA, a national home warranty company.

HomeCare Cares Answers the Call

Katy filled out an application, and HomeServe’s customer team responded quickly and treated her with care and professionalism that Katy appreciated. When Katy was informed that she qualified for the program and the entire cost of the repair would be covered, she was flabbergasted.

“I thought, ‘you’re kidding me, are you serious?’” she said. “It all just happened so fast. I was shocked, but happy I was going to have my water fixed. I’m very appreciative, very grateful for the help.”

The local network plumber, Haynes Plumbing, was dispatched to Katy’s home, and explained the process to her, keeping her informed each step of the way and working diligently to repair her water service line leak, even in poor weather.

“I felt so bad for them, out there in the rain and mud,” Katy said. “It was a lot of mess.”

Katy is determined that none of her family or friends be caught unaware of their responsibilities, the way she was.

“With the lack of knowledge and experience, I didn’t know there are [warranty] plans you can buy for repairs,” she said. “Now that I know that, I’m spreading the word to all my friends and family who are buying homes.” 

HomeServe is committed to serving its partners’ communities. To this end, HomeServe Cares is a program to aid disadvantaged homeowners in communities it serves who are faced with a service emergency and don’t have a service plan or the funds to cover an emergency repair. HomeServe Cares leverages the company’s existing service infrastructure and financial resources to aid homeowners in need.

If you have any questions about HomeServe or the HomeServe Cares program, please contact us.

HomeServe Helps Yonkers Resident Solve a Serious Problem

HomeServe Helps Yonkers Resident Solve a Serious Problem

Evangeline G. of Yonkers noticed many of her neighbors were experiencing water line breaks, especially during the winter months, and began worrying about the line servicing her home.

“[The contractors] told us to get this [warranty] because all these lines were breaking,” she said.

Evangeline, a single mother raising two sons, was on a fixed income and didn’t want to be faced with the expense of repairing a water line. She saved for two and a half months until she had $204.76 – the cost of a year-long service line warranty – and sent it off in mid-March. A few days later, her check was cashed, and Evangeline relaxed. She only had to get through the required waiting period and she would be covered.

However, several weeks went by and she still hadn’t received her warranty paperwork, so Evangeline called her home warranty company in April to find out if she would be receiving her new customer packet soon.

Then, in early May, she received a notification from the city she had a leak. Not only did the line break near the main line, but it the line was lead, meaning the entire line would have to be replaced in order to bring it to code. Relieved that she had taken steps to secure a warranty back in March, she contacted her home warranty company.

“They said, ‘we have a record that you called two and a half weeks ago,’” she said. “‘You knew about this.’ I said, ‘no, I was calling about my paperwork.’ They didn’t believe me and they said they wouldn’t cover it.”

Despairing, Evangeline began looking for a plumber – otherwise, the city would be forced to turn off the water to her home to prevent the water leaking beneath the street from causing an issue – and she was still out more than $200.

“I hoped I could find someone who would take $50, $75 a month,” she said. “I thought I would be paying this off for 20 years.”

Evangeline’s sons began researching area plumbing companies and suggested their mother contact O’Grady Plumbing, operated by Josephine O’Grady.

“When I called, I was upset, crying, ‘please, can you help me?’” she said.

In addition to being based in Yonkers, O’Grady Plumbing is a HomeServe USA network contractor, and Josephine thought Evangeline might qualify for HomeServe Cares, a program that helps disadvantaged residents without a repair plan by providing free, emergency plumbing repairs to those who qualify.

“So we got a call from Evangeline, and she had a notice from the city that they were going to turn off her water,” Josephine said. “She was pretty upset. It was expensive, and her [warranty] wouldn’t cover it. I told her we would work with her.”

Josephine assured Evangeline they would figure out a fix for her, then contacted her HomeServe Regional Operations Manager, Mary Michell.

“O’Grady Plumbing contacted us to see if we could cover the cost through the [HomeServe Cares] program,” Michell said. “Evangeline qualified, so we made arrangements to replace the lead line from the main, across the street, to the house.”

When Michell contacted Evangeline, she was shopping.

“I was at the dollar store when she called, and when she said they would do the job, I started crying in the middle of the store,” she said. “People were asking me if I was okay, but they were tears of happiness.”

HomeServe dispatched O’Grady Plumbing to replace the entire line at no cost to Evangeline.

“I’m blessed to have this,” Evangeline said. “Thank you so much.”

HomeServe is committed to serving its partners’ communities. To this end, HomeServe Cares is a program to aid disadvantaged homeowners in communities it serves who are faced with a service emergency and don’t have a service plan or the funds to cover an emergency repair. HomeServe Cares leverages the company’s existing service infrastructure and financial resources to aid homeowners in need.

To find out how a partnership with HomeServe can benefit your customers, contact us.