A local nonprofit hopes to bring Christmas in April for some area residents in need of home repairs.
On April 28, more than 800 volunteers will come together for Rebuilding Together Baltimore’s
annual Rebuilding Day
to provide no-cost repairs for more than 30 homes, says Bonnie Bessor, executive director of Rebuilding Together Baltimore.
The focus of this year’s efforts will be on the neighborhoods of Pigtown
in Baltimore City and Colegate
Between donated materials and volunteer labor, the total investment for the day’s repairs is between $300,000 and $600,000, Bessor says.
The organization and its volunteers take a customized, whole-house approach to repairing homes, and all repairs are made with the intention of making them warmer, safer, and drier, Bessor says.
Between 15 to 20 volunteers work in each house to make repairs that can range from rebuilding a front porch to adding new stairs in a basement. Prior to rebuilding day, an assessment is done to determine the nature of the repair work. Houses can get anywhere between 10 to 50 repairs, Bessor says.
While the organization works year-round doing similar repair work and community beautification projects, Rebuilding Day is the organization’s signature event. After selecting a target community through an application process, the group works with volunteers to do outreach into communities to identify people in need of repairs by speaking at community association meetings and going door-to-door with handouts, says Bessor.
In order for repair work to be done, individuals must meet minimum income qualifications, and own their own home. Additionally, they must either have children living with them, be over 60, or have a disability. Bessor says that individuals often meet all three requirements.
While the organization is in good shape for unskilled volunteers for Rebuilding Day, they are in need of skilled volunteers with plumbing, electrical, or carpentry skills, Bessor says.
“As a volunteer you get to see the immediate results of the work you’ve done, and you’re part of a larger movement to help homeowners stay in their homes, helping to preserve affordable homeownership,” Bessor says.
Many of the volunteers for Rebuilding Day come from the organizations corporate sponsors, some of which include Booz Allen Hamilton and Stanley Black & Decker.
Other community partners for Rebuilding Day include Paul’s Place
in Pigtown and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps
based in Perry Point, Md.
For more information about volunteering with Rebuilding Together Baltimore contact AmeriCorps Outreach Coordinator, Sally Dorman, at sally@RTBaltimore.org
Source: Bonnie Bessor, executive director of Rebuilding Together Baltimore
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, email@example.com