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Nonprofit group helps form home improvement firm for seniors

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:55 a.m. CDT
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(Jerry Moore - jmoore@shawmedia.com)
Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield was one of three nonprofit groups to form PrimeLIfe to provide honest and trusted contractors to seniors when needed.

BROOKFIELD – The flooding that struck the western suburbs in April caused major problems for many property owners.

It also created opportunities for scam artists posing as home improvement contractors to take advantage of people who don’t know better. Among the most vulnerable to this kind of fraud are senior citizens.

This is one of the reasons that officials with Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield joined with two other nonprofit organizations to form PrimeLife Home Improvement. The firm specializes in providing reliable and trusted handymen and contractors to seniors who wish to remain living in their homes, said Amy Selle, Cantata’s director of marketing.

“PrimeLife offers handyman services, [from tasks] that are very simple, to actual renovation work,” Selle said.

Cantata worked with the groups Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services and Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly to form PrimeLife Home Improvement, Selle said. Through this nonprofit organization, seniors can find individuals to perform smaller repair or maintenance jobs to large-scale renovation projects, she said.

Chris Roller, CEO of PrimeLife Home Improvement, said the firm has three employees and access to about 30 subcontractors. The goal is to hire more employees in the future and continue expanding its base of vendors.

“These three groups, which had a history of providing handyman and small home repair services, saw a need for a firm that could also do some of the larger work,” Roller said. “A big part of what we do is to provide a real trustworthy source of home improvement.”

PrimeLife Home Improvement conducts background and drug tests on potential employees and subcontractors, Roller said. People who want to work for the firm also must go through customer service and sensitivity training, he said.

PrimeLife Home Improvement strives to ensure that its employees and subcontractors are competent in their trade as well as adept at dealing with seniors, Roller said. Senior citizens often have unique needs, and officials at the groups that started the firm have the background to understand what skills are required to handle different situations, he said.

“It’s such an advantage for us to be able to draw on the experience of the founders,” Roller said.

PrimeLife Home Improvement is governed by a board of directors, whose members represent the three founding organizations, Roller said. As a nonprofit organization, the firm can focus on more than just chasing money, he said.

Officials with PrimeLife Home Improvement are working to build clients and vendors in Cook County and the collar counties, Selle said. For information on the firm, call 708-387-1055.

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