Operation Home Rescue offers free home repair to Clark County veterans

Linnea and Loren Kurtz describe themselves as helpers. Over the years, the couple have adopted numerous dogs, cats and birds from rescue shelters and helped raise several children in foster care.

The two have lived in their Vancouver home for more than 15 years, since they moved to take care of Linnea Kurtz’s parents. Loren Kurtz served in the National Guard following high school, and both of them worked in social services for many years.

But following medical complications in recent years, the couple realized that asking for help might be the only way to save their house from falling into disrepair.

Some of the repairs topping their list included a broken toilet, a hole in a wall and a broken kitchen light.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to work with medical conditions and that kind of thing,” Loren Kurtz said. “So it puts us in a difficult position often, especially for keeping the house up to par with all the things that go wrong.”

The couple have even considered selling their house, but that all changed with the help of Operation Home Rescue, a program through TMG Maintenance Services NW — a Clark County-based property management company — that offers home maintenance repairs to veterans in the area at no charge.

The Kurtz house resembled a construction site earlier this month, as nearly a dozen workers arrived to work on the list of repairs. By the end of the day, the lawn was neatly trimmed, the rotting wood on the back deck was replaced, and the couple were thankful for the help.

“We’re very fortunate,” Linnea Kurtz said. “I really don’t take it lightly, and these people are coming in and helping us with things we haven’t been able to afford to do.”

The Kurtz house was the eighth Operation Home Rescue since the program’s inception in 2021. The property management company started the program to assist veterans in the area, and works with the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center to process applications.

“Veterans hold a special place in our hearts at TMG. We have staff that are veterans, and it seemed like a natural place to look to offer services,” said Tracey Walker, community engagement coordinator for the company. “Especially at the minor home repair level, there just weren’t any services available. So we decided that since we have a great home maintenance team, why don’t we utilize that skill set to set up a program?”

The program offers free maintenance and repair services to veterans in Clark County who are physically unable to complete the work themselves. To be eligible, applicants must own their home and earn 80 percent or less of the area’s median family income.

According to Walker, the program has been a success, and applications have increased in the last few months.

“Since we did a postcard mail drop, we’ve seen a huge increase in applications,” Walker said. “We used to get maybe a few applications a year, and I’ve already seen at least 30 applications come in in just the last few weeks.”

The couple found out about the program through a caregiver service. They said they were initially hesitant to accept the help, but are now grateful they did.

“We were always on the other end of the spectrum, we were the ones working and helping other people,” Linnea Kurtz said. “So when we came to the point with medical issues and not being able to work on that kind of thing, it put us in a really hard situation where we actually did need to ask for help, and that was really, really hard to do.”