Home Modifications from United Way of Long Island was a ‘Blessing’ for the King Family


Carolyn King has 19 screws in her knee and ankle as a result of a car accident. Her husband, Lorenza, has battled lymphoma and her son has special needs. But if you ask Carolyn, she will tell you that she is blessed.

The King family of Shirley, NY, were experiencing difficult times and were faced with the possibility of having to leave their home of nearly 30 years. Illnesses did not allow the couple to work, and the home needed repairs and updates to make it a safe living environment for the whole family.

“Leaving this home was the last thing we wanted,” observed Carolyn King. “My husband and I bought the house together and worked hard to keep it and make a happy life for our family. It’s scary to get to the point when you work all your life and don’t have enough to support yourself.”

That’s where United Way of Long Island stepped in.

Thanks to a grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Older Adults Home Modification Program, United Way worked with the Kings to make meaningful modifications that allowed them to remain in their home.

Shower grab bars were installed to help support both Carolyn and Lorenza. They were also provided with a medical-grade air purifier to provide relief from the asthma and allergy symptoms suffered by Carolyn and her son, Lorenza Jr. The air purifier became an essential tool during the COVID-19 pandemic as well, as caregivers were coming in and out of the home to care for Lorenza as he battled lymphoma.

The modifications did not end there. Realizing more support was needed, United Way also repaired the King’s front porch, providing a new, strong railing as well as new stairs going into the home and backyard. Carolyn and Lorenza can now hold onto the railing going into and out of their home, put weight on them safely, and even sit outside and enjoy their neighborhood.  

“The United Way was truly a blessing for us. I cannot express how much of a help they were,” Carolyn recently remarked. “Lorenza and I have been married for 27 years and we are so happy to stay in this home together, knowing we are safe as we continue to age.”

United Way also provided the King family with gift cards for groceries and helped pay home heating oil bills during this time.

“I have told people about United Way, about how much of a blessing they are to people like myself,” Carolyn concluded. “The helpers who came into our home were so pleasant and easy to talk to. They came in just on time — just when we needed the support. As the kids used to say, ‘United Way is the bomb!’”

Recently after the completion of the home modifications, Carolyn is happy to report that Lorenza is now cancer-free!  She wants the world to know that her husband is healthy and that they are looking forward to getting back on their feet, able to spend beautiful days together as a family in their home.

Watch their story on WCBS News