Community comes together to rescue Brownsburg home

HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A Brownsburg home was nearly condemned last November, but the decision of one man gave a struggling family the second chance they desperately needed. 

The Chelf family was living without running water or heat for nearly a year. They felt helpless when a representative from the county knocked on their door in November likely to deem their house unsafe. They threw him off the property. What they didn’t realize is that it was actually the help they had been praying for. 

“It was pretty scary actually living here and we didn’t have any other course of action,” Joshua Chelf said. 

He lives with his parents Jennifer and Steven Chelf in the Brownsburg home that was falling apart in 2018.

“The roof was falling in, the roof was leaking, the floors were rotted, the plumbing was gone,” Chelf said. 

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The property has been in their family for generations, but it had definitely seen better days. 

“We were holding out for a miracle. We agreed that we’d give it a year as of this January and if things did not improve we’d sell the land,” Chelf said.

That’s when Scott Butrum with Hendricks County Planning and Building was sent to the Chelf residence to check on the property. 

“It was very dangerous. You had to watch where you walked,” Butrum said. 
He had grounds to condemn the property.

“I couldn’t bring myself to do it. These people needed help,” Butrum said. 

Instead, he turned to Facebook.

“The first day I probably had 75 to 100 people who wanted to help in one way or another and it just spiraled,” Butrum said. “It became pretty emotional to see that all the people who jumped in and got involved and said hey we’re going to help you. What do you need? We’re here. We’re going to do it. Let’s get this done.”

Butrum estimates upwards to 30-thousand dollars in donations from the Hendricks County community, not to mention sweat equity. And the work is not done as paint and carpet are set to be done. Butrum is still looking for some help to complete work at the house including a water softener. The house is also in need of insulation throughout. 

“We have running water and heat now. The roof has been repaired. The windows have been replaced. We have a new kitchen, new appliances,” Chelf said. “It’s great. It’s given us a new lease on life. It’s like a new home. Something like this doesn’t come your way every day. It’s restored our faith in humanity.”

A new lease for a home loved so much by the Chelfs and revived through love as well. 

If you’d like to help with the Chelf home renovations and repairs, you can make monetary donations at North Salem State Bank. The account is under Scott Butrum for the benefit of Steve and Jennifer Chelf. You can also contact Butrum at 317-289-8919.