Summerfield Bluffs residents Chuck and Lysanne Eroshevich wouldn’t consider themselves people of means by any stretch of the imagination. Since they moved to Florida about a decade ago, the couple has, quite simply, been living on a “shoestring” budget. And yet, when they have had to replace their sod or make other adjustments to comply with their homeowners association’s restrictions, they’ve done so.
But not every family can.
The Erosheviches now are spearheading an effort to help neighbors in need with the formation of a new group called the Lakewood Ranch Lotkeepers. The organization hopes to assist struggling families with home maintenance or other compliance issues.
“We thought it was a nice approach to take,” Chuck Eroshevich said. “A lot of people are hurting. This is a good way to attack (the problem).”
A team of volunteers will help homeowners correct deed-restriction violations they would not otherwise be able to fix, because of finances or other reasons, by assisting with yard work, painting or other projects.
“Our main goal is just to help people out and let them know they’re not on their own,” Chuck Eroshevich said.
The Erosheviches say they hope the group fosters a spirit of community and encourages homeowners to have compassion for their neighbors, who may be struggling to fix violations because they are elderly, ill or disabled or working several jobs just to pay the mortgage.
“We know what it’s like to be financially struggling and getting these fines (from the HOA),” Eroshevich said.
Chuck Eroshevich came up with the idea after finding an article online titled “Man jailed for brown lawn gets help from neighbors.” The article, which ran in the St. Petersburg Times in October 2008, describes a situation in which a senior citizen, who was having trouble keeping up-to-date on his mortgage, was jailed by his homeowners association for failing to fix his brown-spotted yard over the course of a year.
A stranger with a handyman service read about the incident in the newspaper and rallied his friends, solicited donations of sod and other items, and came out to help the 66-year-old man and his wife the same day he had learned about what had happened. He and a crew of volunteers installed grass and flowers, mulch and a working sprinkler while the man was still in jail and his wife was home.
“(What happened to that man) should never happen,” Eroshevich said. “I could see that happening here. We thought we needed to be proactive and help people. It’s the right thing to do.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
Individuals wishing to volunteer with the Lakewood Ranch Lotkeepers or families needing assistance should contact Chuck Eroshevich at 718-4822 or email [email protected].
You also can follow the Lotkeepers on Twitter (LWR_Lotkeepers), on Facebook (Lakewood Ranch Lotkeepers) and on the organization’s blog, www.LWRLotKeepers.blogspot.com.