FOLLANSBEE, W. Va. (WTRF)-The life of one Follansbee family, living without utilities for 20 years, is finally turning around.

“She needed to have some kind of heat in this house and couldn’t even take a hot shower.”

Hannah Minger, Community Engagement Specialist at HealthWays 

The home not only had its hot water tank not working, but it also had no gas service at all. In fact, the utility’s portion of the gas service line has been without service for so long that it had retired in 2018.

The home had no heat or working lights all that time.

“Up until recently, they weren’t even able to see where they were going.”

Hannah Minger, Community Engagement Specialist at HealthWays 

With a limited income, the Zenoelie family had no choice but to get used to the house they inherited from a relative.

The family often used headlamps to get around, and in the winter, they kept warm with portable heaters.

The problem wasn’t going away until a nonprofit stepped up to help.

Homeserve Cares Foundation funds ultility line repairs for low-income families, and the Zenoelie family qualified.

The non-profit helps fix up hundreds of homes a year, but the homes aren’t usually as dire as this one.

“When we came here, it was probably one of the most unique situations that I’ve come across. I’ve been to a few different jobs across the country that we’ve done for Homeserve Cares. It’s more of an emergency situation.”

Ashley Shiwarski, Senior Director of Business Development for Homeserve 

Now, after 20 years of waiting, the Zenoelie family finally has the help they needed. Homeserve Cares funded a service that pulled up to the house today and put the utilities back in working order.

Healthways, which helped along the way, is happy for Carol Zenoelie and her family.

“We’re really proud of Carol. We’re glad she was able to get this because she deserves this so much.”

Ashley Shiwarski, Senior Director of Business Development for Homeserve