Rebuilding Together is Back for National Rebuilding Day
On Saturday, April 24, volunteers, subcontractors, community partners, and neighbors will partner with Rebuilding Together Manchester to clean up yards, organize outdoor materials, and paint decks of local home sites.
Rebuilding Together is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring safe homes and communities for everyone by providing critical home repairs for more vulnerable community members, including seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and families with young children.
Each year, the organization hosts National Rebuilding Month in April and National Rebuilding Day on the last Saturday in April. Thanks to the hard work of the local Manchester affiliate, the organization will be able to complete a variety of outside jobs this month on April 24. The committee members on home sites are implementing new policies and practices to ensure health safety and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. These new policies include:
- Social distancing and a maximum of 10 volunteers per site
- Self-screening that will be verified at the home site
- Volunteer sign-up and check-in
- Personal protective equipment including gloves, eye protection and face coverings
- Color-coded tools that will be sanitized between shifts
“Safety is the number one priority,” Molly Devanney, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Manchester, said. “We had to think outside the box the whole time planning this.”
On National Rebuilding Day, outside jobs will include 15 homes where around 300 volunteers will complete all the work outside. Over the course of April, there will be a total of 25 homes Rebuilding Together Manchester will take on.
Each volunteer will receive a green bag containing a face mask, first aid kit, a pen to sign the waiver form, and gardening gloves. In order to maintain safety, the number of volunteers at each site will be kept low and social distancing will be a high priority. Fortunately, Devanney noted that many volunteers are part of the same family group and some are even vaccinated, further ensuring the safety of volunteers at the home site.
The National Center for Healthy Housing reports that 45 million homes in the United States have at least one serious home hazard present, which have the capacity to directly impact a family’s physical health and safety. At a time when many vulnerable homeowners are under additional stress and restrictions due to the pandemic, Rebuilding Together volunteers help to complete work that homeowners are not able to do themselves and empower local residents to remain safely at home.
The organization provides repairs at zero cost to neighbors who need it and who are often faced with diminishing resources and must choose between food and medicine over critical home repairs. Installation of handicap ramps is one example of how Rebuilding Together prioritizes getting people out of the hospital and back home in a safe way, an initiative that is especially important during COVID-19.
The outdoor work planned for National Rebuilding Together Day will include yardwork such as pruning, raking leaves, weeding, leaf blowing as well as cleaning and organizing yard materials, such as bricks or patio furniture. Many of the homeowners at the sites this year are senior citizens who have worked on their houses and gardens for years and no longer can keep up with the maintenance themselves.
The SBM Foundation continues to sponsor Rebuilding Together Manchester. This year, they donated over $67,000. “We are beyond thankful because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have anything,” Devanney said. The organization also thanked Lowes, which provided a $10,000 grant to the group for purchasing the needed materials, which is especially helpful this year as volunteers can no longer share tools like they used to in past years.
While activities are ramped up in the month of April, Rebuilding Together is a year-long program. The organization received a Community Development Block Grant funding for roofing and chimney repairs. For any community members who cannot afford these repairs, Rebuilding Together offers a program that pays for 100% of the cost. Applications for roofing and chimney repairs will be accepted beyond National Rebuilding Day. Click HERE to access the online Homeowner Application and Referral form.