FS to provide major home repairs for growing Austin family

A young couple with a newborn son will see their Austin house transformed this spring by Facilities Services crews through our partnership with Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago.

Eric, 29, and Jaidalyn Rand-Ousley, 31, brought baby Eric Jr. home from the hospital in February to their two-story home on the northwest side of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. The home is in need of repairs to its roof, electrical and plumbing systems, and FS also will add a new kitchen, complete with a microwave and dishwasher.

“I still can’t believe this is happening,” Jaidalyn said recently as she cradled her son E.J.  in her living room. “No more spending hours washing dishes. We just appreciate this so much.”

Electric Shop Supervisor Joe Tomaselli, Director of Campus Properties Kevin Austin and Executive Assistant Tiffany Grant, as well as Brandon Rux, manager of landscaping and grounds, Barry O’Quinn, manager, campus trades shop and Herb Mueller, supervisor of the residential maintenance shop, recently met the family at their home to go over the planned upgrades.

"The real focus is to ensure the home is dry, safe and warm," Austin said. "Much of what we are doing is repairing unsafe electrical, roof leaks and squirrel damage to roof and electrical systems, unsafe steps and plumbing problems."

This is the fifth consecutive year Facilities Services has adopted a family seeking assistance with home repairs through our partnership with Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago.

Eric and Jaidalyn moved into the home in 2009 and attempted to make repairs, however, their plans were put on hold when Eric, a member of the Army National Guard, was deployed to Afghanistan. The high school sweethearts married prior to his first deployment in July.

Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago is an affiliate of Rebuilding Together, a national organization dedicated to providing critical home repairs, modifications and improvements for low-income homeowners. Collectively, Rebuilding Together affiliates have completed work on more than 100,000 homes and engaged 3.4 million volunteers to deliver $1.3 billion in market value since its 1988 founding.

-- By Amy Lee