BOSTON - Homeowners from central and western Massachusetts traveled to the state house on Tuesday to plead with lawmakers to support a bill that would help people with crumbling foundations fix their homes.
What You Need To Know
- Homeowners from central and western Massachusetts traveled to the state house to plead with lawmakers to support a bill to help fix homes with crumbling foundations
- Pyrrhotite is a mineral found in quarry rocks that can break down concrete
- Currently those with impacted foundations have no relief from insurance and are on the hook for any repairs
- Two bills have been introduced, one that mandates testing of quarries to prevent bad concrete and a second to help fund repairs
Homeowners with crumbling foundations shared their stories of dream homes turning into nightmares, stories of delayed retirements and life changing financial consequences to fix homes that were crumbling.
"What I paid to replace my foundation is exactly what I paid for my house when I bought it," said Todd Lemon, a homeowner who's foundation needed to be replaced in 2020.
Lemon was looking at retirement after a career in law enforcement serving as Auburn’s police chief when he and his wife learned their home was crumbling. They were forced to pay $200,000 for repairs to keep their home standing, but it delayed retirement for Lemon.
"I’ve never asked my government for anything,' Lemon said. "I’m a first responder for the last 40 years. I’ve never asked for anything, but I feel like I need my government to step in and help."
There are two bills that have been introduced to help homeowners. The first bill introduced will require testing for quarries. Quarries are where the rocks used to make concrete come from.
Some quarries have the mineral pyrrhotite in their rocks, and that mineral disintegrate over time, taking the structural integrity with it. Contractors don’t know the mineral is there until its too late. The solution is to require testing to prevent the bad concrete from being used.
Many of the homes impacted got their concrete from a quarry in Connecticut, and that state has passed similar legislation.
The second bill would implement a fund for financial assistance to help people to fix their homes. Currently, the bill does not have any specific funding parameters. State Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Worcester and Hampshire, has introduced similar bills before, but this time she has hope that they will pass.
"I do feel better about it this time around," Gobi said. "And part of it is that we are starting earlier this year with the advocacy, and I think that is helpful."
Karen Riani and her husband have been living this nightmare for years. They invited Spectrum News 1 into their Holden home to show just how impactful a crumbling foundation can be. They were forced to pay $280,000 in repairs out of pocket with no help from insurance.
Riani spoke to a full room today to tell her story and advocate for fellow homeowners. It's one of the first times she feels like people are listening.
"To be here at the state house is just amazing," Riani said. "We have come so far and we have the most hope this year that we can get these bills passed and that we can stop this. We can just move forward."
Connecticut passed their own bill to aid in repairs for homeowners. They allow up to $190,000 in funding to make repairs to a home. This group is asking Massachusetts to follow suit.