Ms. Lipofsky might be the most patient woman I’ve ever met. She greeted me with a big smile and the incredible willingness to share her story. Ms. Lipofsky is a retired teacher who seems to have a heart of gold. Hurricanes Charley and Frances destroyed her adorable house in the summer of 2004, but it hasn’t forced her to give up her home.
Finding licensed contractors was quite a task during the aftermath of the hurricanes. Ms. Lipofsky started her insurance claim and knew that she was going to have to find a licensed contractor in order for her claim to be paid out. After meeting with multiple contractors she finally found one in February of 2005 that agreed to take on her project. She received a sixteen-page contract that was inclusive of all her needs and her gut instinct kicked in.
She had just recently turned away multiple others who each wanted to work on a section of her house, but no one was willing to commit to the whole thing. Her insurance company pushed her to find someone who could oversee everything for her since Ms. Lipofsky had a work schedule to keep up with. Despite her gut nervously telling her this might not be the right thing to do, she signed the contract in April of 2005 to move forward with rebuilding her home.
Ms. Lipofsky, just as I would, assumed that her licensed contractor would handle everything in a professional manner. I won’t reveal their name since I’ve come to find out they have since had their licensed revoked so they won’t be causing any more harm. However, I will say that in learning their name I was a bit shocked at the irony that it suggested they would be nothing but professional and even a bit hospitable to those going though such a drastic project as hers.
Unfortunately, Ms. Lipofsky’s experience to come was far from hospitable and lacking any form of professionalism along the way. When the hurricanes hit in 2004 they demolished her roof, which then lead to every problem imaginable. Her house needed to be reduced to the slab and rebuilt from scratch to restore all that had been there prior to the storms. Her contractor had no problem showing up and performing the remaining demolition that would initially kick-start the project. The remaining portions of her roof were removed along with her siding, interior walls and ceilings. All she had left was a shell of a home and the memories she had created there.
With the faith that she followed the suggestions from her insurance company and that her patience would be worth it when she once again had her house back, Ms. Lipofsky watched from afar as her disaster recovery project wildly spun out of control. She reminds me in a way of my grandmother now. While standing in what should be her living room, looking into her kind eyes, I just couldn’t understand how anyone could have swooped in and taken advantage of her in such a desperate time of need.
Walking through her home just tears my heart apart and I can’t understand how anyone with a conscience walked away and left it in the state that it is for almost eight years. I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of her story with you all as I’ve recently learned that Ms. Lipofsky’s time, patience and shared addiction to DIY shows on HGTV has paid off. For the month of October I will be featuring her story throughout every step of her process. An amazing organization is going to return Ms. Lipofsky’s dream of homeownership right back to her. In August I asked, “who steps in when all the cameras are gone?” Ms. Lipofsky told me it is her angel…Rebuilding Together. If this is what they could do after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I can only imagine what they can do for Ms. Lipofsky’s and her home.