Michael Goldsmith is a 60-year-old retired electrical contractor. During his working years, he traveled all over the country repairing damage to electrical lines after natural disasters. He has been married and divorced three times. “I lost everything,” he said. “I was living down at the [Rescue] Mission for a while. I took my retirement – early retirement – and went and bought the house. I bought a vehicle and got back on my feet. That’s where I’m at now.”
Michael is a Fort Wayne native. He went to the new-defunct Frances Slocum Elementary School. He has lived all over the city during his lifetime but prefers the downtown area. “I know everything about downtown,” he said. “I’ve seen the development of the downtown area over the last 15 to 20 years.” Michael has lived in his current home for about three years. It had been vacant before he moved in. “Nobody wanted the home because it needed a lot of work,” he explained. The home is 188 years old, and Michael is only the third owner.
According to Michael, his house was originally part of the Swinney Homestead’s 200 acres. “All of the houses around here weren’t here then. This was originally a farm home. And down the way, about a half a block down, there’s a little brick house that used to be a trading post.” He has the original abstract for the home and is clearly very proud to be preserving its history.
But for all the home’s glory, it has seen better days when Michael moved in. The plumbing was in bad shape. The kitchen had one stove – a large wood-burning stove – and two cabinets. A lot of work needed to be done.
Michael had visited the Wayne Township Trustee’s office to get assistance when he was struggling. They did what they could and then sent him to Brightpoint. At Brightpoint, he initially got assistance with his utilities through the Energy Assistance Program. Then he got a call from Brightpoint’s Weatherization department- and was more than a little surprised at the help they offered. “I thought they were going to come out and put plastic on the windows. I thought, ‘Well, the house is kind of drafty.’ I was amazed at everything that was done.”
The bones of the house were in excellent condition, but as is the case with most homes that are over 100 years old, the house needed insulation, a new furnace, a new water heater, and more. Michael did some of the work himself, but Brightpoint was able to help him with much more than he had ever imagined.
“It’s dramatically changed my heating bill,” Michael commented. “Everything is more efficient. It’s twice as efficient as it used to be.” Michael was pleasantly surprised by all that Brightpoint was able to do for him and his home. “I can’t say enough about it. Brightpoint is exceptional.”