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Homes on stilts in Vernon as crumbling foundation replacement gets underway

VERNON — The crisis of crumbling foundations can be seen in Vernon where whole houses are suspended in the air.

Crissy Bardini is one of up to 55,000 property owners affected by the crumbling foundation crisis.

For the next 7 years my credit is now shot. I’ll be unable to do anything on my own,” she said.

Her foundation at the Ryefield Condominiums is patched with hydraulic concrete. She is pregnant and $130,000 in debt. She can’t sell the condo. So now her home is in foreclosure.

“They just raised my condo fees $128 to put new roofs on. Why would you put new roofs on a foundation that’s crumbling,” said Bardini.

Less than 10 minutes away, four homes are on stilts on Eliot Drive.

“Every piece of concrete that’s here is gone,” said General Contractor Don Childree.

Childree is replacing full foundations. Each home averages about eight weeks and more than $200,000. Childree has done about 80 foundations across the state.

“It’s an investment and to lose it to this and not have the insurance companies cover it is crazy,” he said.

Rep. Tim Ackert said there’s help available at the state level but, “We need to have the federal government step up,” said Ackert.

Every homeowner is now assessed a $12 insurance surcharge to help fund foundations replacements. But homeowners are still losing money.

“The money only replaces the foundation. So they have to lift the house, replace the foundation. Now your landscaping, the sidewalk, your driveway. Maybe the beautiful deck you put on. That’s out of your pocket. But we have a fund that will help assist with that in terms of low interest loans,” said Ackert.

Those low interest loans are available at up to $75,000 for the next 20 years. It’s also worth mentioning, there’s a legislative working group that was formed to check up on contractors and regulate the presence of this problem mineral. But they haven’t met yet.

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