Lexington volunteers increasing access to home repair tools – LEX 18 News – Lexington, KY
LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — People in Lexington who need access to tools are about to have an easier time getting their hands on them. The goal is to help people stay in their homes.
When looking at ways to help his community through his Leadership Lexington class, a simple idea struck Chris Gipson.
“We look around our neighborhoods and we kind of see houses falling apart and people in need of repairs and stuff. They just need assistance to do it. We’ve learned in this process that code violations can pile up really fast and it takes $5,000 in code violations to get you evicted in your house,” Gipson said.
Keeping people in their homes often comes down to clearing one hurdle.
“Sometimes all it takes is access to tools to get the things fixed on their property and on their house,” said Lexington Vice Mayor Dan Wu.
It turned out, a couple of other people had been working on the same issue. Nick Lyell and his friend Casey Lyons have been running a tool loaning service called LexTools.
“I was living in an apartment at the time. I had just moved and I only brought what I could fit in my Prius, which is a surprising amount, but still not that many tools and other things to help fix up the apartment,” Lyell said.
“It’s like a library. If you need to borrow a saw, you can come out and borrow a saw. If you need a ladder, you come and check out a ladder. It’s really a whole library concept where some people might be able to go to Home Depot and buy a new tool when they need it, but not everybody needs it or if you just need it for one day or one job,” Gipson said.
Now, Gipson has brought LexTools together with the United Way to create a space for the new Lexington Tool Library at the Black and Williams Waypoint Center along Georgetown Road where people can get those tools and learn more about other United Way services.
“It’s pay-what-you-can, so you don’t have to have a lot of money or any money if you don’t, you’ll be able to take that, make the home repairs, take care of the yard or anything else, and the bonus is you’ll also get to find out about all the services we offer through the Waypoint, United Way of the Bluegrass,” said Waypoint Initiative Director Gerri Botts.
Lexington Vice Mayor Dan Wu was at the ribbon cutting this afternoon and said the program could change lives.
“It’s about equity. It’s about keeping people in their homes. It’s about giving people, literally, the tools that they need to make their lives better,” Wu said.
Organizers would love to see it expand.
“We would love to have more locations. We already have more tools than we can fit in this space that we just got and we would love to have more locations or even have a mobile version, so we can be more accessible to all parts of town,” Lyon said.
Membership to the Lexington Tool Library (https://lextools.org/) is a suggested donation of $10 per month, but the organization has a sliding scale for people who can’t afford that amount.