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Advocate for homeless receives free roof

Janie CoeJanice Coe in front of her newly roofed home. Courtesy Photo Creative Strategies.
A Leesburg woman who’s spent decades opening her home to others is seeing her kindness repaid in turn this holiday season.

“In Janice’s case, several people enclosed articles written in the Washington Post and told us things she’s done for the community,” said Steve Gotschi, founder and president DryHome Roof & Siding. Gotschi’s company selects one deserving individual every year to be given a free roof, and this time around the candidate chosen was Janice Coe.

“It was a group decision,” he said. “We all decided on her. It was unanimous. Putting a roof over her head is helping more than just her.”

Coe’s roof certainly shelters many heads; the Loudoun resident has devoted herself to temporarily taking in the homeless and assisting them in finding the help they need. She recently went so far as to pay for a young woman and her child to stay at a hotel while she worked on their behalf to secure subsidized housing.

When Coe lost her job and was unable to make needed repairs on her home, members of the community were quick to advocate for the advocate.

“Janice Coe…is a selfless worker for the needy in Virginia,” read one. “She tirelessly helps…those in distress and need.”

“She has been exemplary in being there for the less fortunate,” said another. “Janice shows what it is to be a giving and loving individual.”

The words from Coe’s neighbors were more than enough to persuade Steve Gotschi and his colleagues.

“She brings homeless people into her own home,” said Gotsci, who replaced Coe’s roof and fascia boards in addition to installing new siding and gutters. “That takes a special person. By helping her, we help out as many people as she helps out. Her roof was in really bad shape.”

For Coe, the experience was gratifying on more than one level; after years of assisting others, she learned the importance taking a hand up when it was needed.

“It’s good to give,” said Coe. “It’s kind of hard to receive. But this just goes to show you that it can happen to anybody. Steve Gotschi came to door and told me I was receiving a new roof. I was shocked. He let me see letters people had sent him. At first I thought it was my neighbors, but then I saw it was others, too.”

Coe, meanwhile, insists on remaining a champion for those less privileged than herself.

“I’m not able to give the way I used to,” she said. “I couldn’t put someone up in a hotel or anything like that. But my house is still open to the homeless. And I still wanted to make Thanksgiving dinners for people this year. It’s important for me to do things like that.”


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