What Is Rebuilding Together?
Rebuilding Together is a nationwide home repair and rehabilitation initiative dedicated to keeping low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly, disabled and families with children living in dignity, decency, safety, warmth and independence through volunteer services. Volunteers from all ages, faiths and walks of life come together to help their neighbors remain in their homes.
A safe and healthy home for everyone.
We are committed to helping low-income individuals and families with respect of their integrity, dignity and assets to strengthen lives, homes and communities.
We work in partnership with neighborhoods, involving residents in all aspects of our work. We value collaboration with other groups who share similar goals.
We believe in quality planning, delivery and evaluation of our services.
We believe in inclusiveness, and seek to promote a diversity that is reflective or our communities.
We commit to deliver free services through volunteer labor along with cost effective leveraging of donated materials, supplies and labor.
Twenty-two percent of all Americans are shelter poor, meaning they cannot afford basic minimum necessities after paying housing costs. Therein lies the paradox: they have a home, but cannot afford to maintain it.
Many of our neighbors have worked hard all their lives and have been able, physically and financially, to repair their own homes for most of that time. Now due to illness, aging, inflation, or any number of uncontrollable causes, they are unable to do the repair work themselves and their homes have become unsafe, unhealthy and unliveable. In Frederick County, there are many very low-income owner occupied households of which the majority are elderly persons. These homes often have some sort of house problems. Problems defined as, paying too much for housing costs, lack of complete kitchens, and/or lack of plumbing all together, many Frederick County residents are suffering a housing cost burden, thus making it impossible to contribute any funds to the maintenance and repair of their homes.
These neighbors of ours then find themselves living with leaking roofs, no plumbing and overloaded electrical wiring. These individuals and families who are not able to maintain their homes jeopardize the equity they have counted on to last them through retirement. The community and neighborhoods in which these homeowners live also suffer. Neglected housing problems lower house values and become more expensive to fix over a long period of time. The consequences of housing neglect and deterioration can be serious and expensive.
Rebuilding Together volunteers make a lasting impression. Financially strapped homeowners are relieved of their fears of being forced to leave their homes because they cannot keep them above city/county codes.
AARP Housing Needs Survey reported that 83% of older people want to age in place but, 59% of these older low-income owners are unable to devote any funds to the maintenance of their homes. Rebuilding Together enables these elderly homeowners to grow old in their homes where they built a lifetime of memories. Communities are empowered through their involvement. Volunteers and sponsoring companies receive satisfaction from getting out and making a tangible contribution to neighbors in need. Rebuilding Together is much more than simply fixing houses; it’s about making communities better places to live.
Low income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, who cannot maintain their homes, as well as nonprofit facilities, are eligible for our services. All work is done free of charge. Individual families are referred through congregations, schools, community agencies and service groups or by self-referral. To receive consideration, candidates must complete and submit an application form and provide documentation of home ownership and total household income.
Various congregations, neighborhood, community and service organizations refer homes to us as well as individual homeowners may make self-referral applications. A preview/work-scope visit is made by a skilled trades person. A committee of the board comprised of neighborhood leaders and skilled tradespeople makes the difficult decisions in prioritizing applicants. The Board of Directors makes the final determination as to whether the house referred meets eligibility criteria.
Rebuilding Together Frederick County focuses on repairs and modifications that will increase the health, safety, and independence. Skilled tradespeople join with the unskilled in performing the following repairs: installing handrails and grab bars, replacing porches and stairs, correcting electrical hazards, repairing ongoing plumbing problems, hauling accumulated trash and debris, repairing roof leaks, installing locks on doors and windows, glazing, weather-stripping, building wheelchair access ramps, patching and painting walls, yard work, and securing medical equipment and disability aids to maximize the mobility and independence of elderly homeowners.
All repairs are free to the homeowners. Labor and supplies are donated or purchased by the local program. Homeowners and able-bodied family members are asked to welcome the volunteers into their homes and work alongside them in the spirit of neighbor-helping-neighbor. Again, this year we will moving countless gallons of paint, boxes of nails, lumber, roofing material, sealant, pipes and even such fixtures, such as stoves, bathtubs and stall showers. Some materials are donated, others purchased -- often at wholesale prices. The average cost of the material for each home renovation is underwritten by our sponsers.
Anyone aged 14 or older can be a volunteer. Business executives, students, secretaries, doctors, lawyers, bus drivers, police officers, firefighters, housewives, public officials, bankers, real-estate personnel all pitch in to help build a better community. Skilled tradespeople are always in keen demand -- and indeed, thousands of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, roofers and those possessing other skills donate their time.
Corporations, congregations, businesses, schools, community service organizations, trade associations, government employee groups, and many interested individuals volunteer every year. In the past, volunteers have represented just about every profession and walk-of-life in this community. Volunteers do not need to be skilled at home repair work to participate.
Everyone who would like to participate in this very rewarding program is encouraged to do so. While, most of the sponsors assemble their own volunteer teams, we can always use more help. Carpenters, plumbers and electricians are especially needed to help handle the unexpected situations that often occur when work is performed on old houses.
Besides an average of 500 volunteers who work on "Project Day", there are many people who offer their services in the days and weeks leading up to the actual event. Homes must be pre-inspected, estimates and material lists must be prepared, volunteers need to be organized, major roof repairs, plaster work, plumbing and electrical repairs all need to be performed ahead of time so that everything goes smoothly on the Project Day.
So, whether you are a skilled tradesperson, general handyman, project manager, or just someone who wants to pitch in and help their neighbors, we welcome your help and support.
Please join us as we prepare for Rebuilding Day 2010 on Saturday, April 24
You will be very glad that you did!
Funds come from corporations, individuals, labor organizations, foundations, civic organizations, churches and synagogues interested in helping build a better world. Rebuilding Together Frederick County is a non-profit organization supported primarily by voluntary contributions of time and money. We are responsible for our own fund-raising, publicity, volunteer recruitment and management.
Rebuilding Together Frederick County is supported by the generous donations of our sponsors and volunteers.
Rebuilding Together Frederick County is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are tax-deductible. Sponsors are encouraged to provide their own volunteer group to complete the work on their sponsored home(s). Volunteer groups consist of a House Captain, who manages the project, a Co-Captain who assists the House Captain, and anywhere from a 15 to more than 30 skilled and unskilled volunteers per house. If you do not have the volunteers available to complete the work, we will assist you to provide them.
No. The program embraces all people: all faiths, walks of life, racial and ethnic groups, ages and sexes. The spirit of the program is that of giving and sharing, hence the former title "Christmas in April". The name was conferred by a Midland, Texas beneficiary who, in expressing her appreciation for the work done at her house, described it as being just like "Christmas...but only in April!"
Operating in hundreds of cities and towns across the nation, Rebuilding Together will rehabilitate more than 10,000 homes and non-profit facilities in 2010.
Locally, we perform services in 10 to 15 homes each year. These numbers will increase as volunteers and funding increases.
There are numerous ways to get involved! From individuals volunteering to corporations and organizations adopting a home. We can make good use of donations of time, labor, money, appliances, building supplies and materials, and furniture.
Donations should be made to:
Rebuilding Together Frederick County
P.O. Box 1822
Frederick, MD 21702
All donations are tax-deductible as provided by law and go directly to Rebuilding Together. Your volunteer support and contributions can assist us in achieving our mission of helping low-income seniors and disabled people in need.