RT-AFF and Lockheed Martin Partner to Assist a Disabled Veteran

Patti and JohnDelia dotes over her husband John, a veteran who served during the Korean War and continued to serve state-side for many years until he became disabled. Delia and John have lived in their home for 35 years. Now that John uses a walker and wheelchair their home was not safe for him to navigate – especially the front covered porch where he loves to spend time during nice weather. There was a huge step down from the front door to the old concrete porch and John could not get out of their home without assistance, or get to the driveway so Delia could take him to doctor’s appointments.

A group of RT-AFF skilled volunteers built the foundation for the new deck with a zero-entry threshold and the foundation for the ramp in preparation for the Lockheed Martin work day. The Lockheed team cut and installed all the deck and ramp boards and now John can easily get out on the porch by himself. Delia, who is about one third of John’s size can now safely guide him down the ramp to their driveway.

The Lockheed volunteers also installed a comfort height toilet and grab bars, painted a shed, scraped and painted the foundation, and made Delia’s gardens even more beautiful with edging and mulch. Together the teams corrected 14 Health and Safety Priorities, so John and Delia’s home now meets all 25 priorities. Delia doted over all the volunteers and prepared snacks and food to show her appreciation. Later, Delia wrote “All these volunteers have beautiful and kind hearts. We are so grateful for each and every one of you.”

At Rebuilding Together-AFF, we believe everyone should be given the opportunity to live in a safe and healthy home, especially our nation’s veterans. We are grateful for the partnership with Lockheed Martin which allowed us to deepen our impact and address an urgent housing challenge for a local veteran.

Please visit our Flickr for more photos of the volunteers at work making John and Delia’s home safe and accessible.

Lockheed Project Collage
Team

2022 Year in Review

All of us at Rebuilding Together Arlington/ Fairfax/ Falls Church want to express our deepest appreciation for our supporters and volunteers who make our work possible. In 2022, our volunteers gave 6,924 hours to help us complete 109 projects (100 homes and 9 nonprofits). That amounts to $365,312 in donated labor.

83% of the households we help qualify as Very Low or Extremely Low income and could never afford these vital repairs and modifications on their own. We truly could not do this without your support.  Please take a few minutes to read our Year in Review to see how our services have touched many lives this past year and how the efforts of our volunteers, donors and partners add up to a significant community impact. We look forward to another successful year!

Year in Review 2022

Mrs. B

There’s No Place Like Home

The homeowners we assist are grateful for the life-changing repairs and modifications made by our volunteers and for the donors and funders who provide the financial support to make our programs possible. We recently interviewed four homeowners and want to share their gratitude with you. Please watch the video, and scroll down to read Mrs. B’s lovely thank you note.

 

 

Mr & Mrs H

Highlights from National Rebuilding Day

Collage of 3 projects
National Rebuilding Day (NRD), our signature annual event, is made possible by our partnerships with local faith, corporate and community partners. Our partners financially support their projects and recruit House Captains who mobilize volunteers, plan repairs, and coordinate all the details to make the workday a success for their teams and the homeowners they are serving. Our partners and volunteers are motivated by the desire to give back and make the homes of our neighbors safe and healthy. After missing two National Rebuilding Days due to the pandemic our partners were eager to rejoin us for NRD 2022.

Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA), King of Kings Lutheran Church and Washington Building Congress (WBC) are longtime partners for NRD, and each team brings an amazing set of skills and enthusiasm to their projects. “The last few years have shown us the importance of having a safe place to call home,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “The critical repairs being made not only on National Rebuilding Day, but year-round are improving the physical and mental health of our neighbors, increasing their safety and sense of independence and are improving their economic security and sense of community connection.”

ACCA/RT-AFF’s 35+ Year Partnership
ACCA put together two teams this year as they have done for many National Rebuilding Days during our 35+ years as partners in safe and healthy housing. ACCA Team #2 included volunteers from Ravensworth Baptist, John Calvin Presbyterian and Providence Presbyterian Churches ranging in age from college students to retirees. The team helped Mr. and Mrs. D, a couple in their 80’s who have lived in their Alexandria home for 41 years. Mrs. D spends much of her time caring for Mr. D who is blind, hearing impaired and uses a walker. His safety is her biggest concern, and due to their age and disabilities they also had a lot of deferred maintenance projects to be tackled.

House Captain Brian Meli, assisted by co-captains Jim and Laurie Lewis and Woody Woodburn divided the work among eight task leaders. Critical repairs included improving drainage and downspouts to move water away from the home to keep it dry, repairing rotten flooring near the furnace, sealing leaking windows, gaps and cracks for better temperature control and to keep pests out of the home, securing handrails and adding grab bars to prevent falls and changing out regular light bulbs with LED bulbs to make the home brighter and help prevent falls. The team also did a major yard clean-up and improved the landscaping around the home. “I’m really proud of our eight task leaders and how they divided and conquered the work,” said House Captain Brian Meli. “Everyone came together to help paint the kitchen after their tasks were completed, which brought great joy to Mrs. D and gave the entire team a boost at the end of a long day.” Click to see  ACCA Team #2 Flickr Album and the ACCA Team #1 Album.

King of Kings Lutheran Church Assists Chantilly Family
Mrs. B’s knees don’t work as well as they used to, and she had fallen on the long sloping stairway leading to her car. Led by House Captain Oscar von Bredow and co-captain Bert Roepe, the King of Kings Lutheran Church team constructed an outside railing and added second railings to the inside stairways so Mrs. B can safely get up and down the stairs. The team installed grab bars in the bathroom, made plumbing and electrical repairs, repaired walls and doors, installed a new storm door, cleaned up the yard, installed smoke/co detectors and much more. Mrs. B and her family, who have lived in their home for 26 years, were so inspired by the amount of work the team was able to accomplish in a short time that they arranged for several family members to visit and help paint the newly repaired walls. Mrs. B wrote a lovely thank you email and said, “Your generosity went beyond a day’s work; it filled our hearts with hope and a real feeling of community.” Mrs. B can now use her stairs without the fear of falling, walk down the long walkway to her car holding onto a sturdy railing, and she and her entire family can take pride in their safe home. You can read Mrs. B’s letter and watch an interview with her and 3 other homeowners about their experiences with RT-AFF in our recent video.   Click here to see King of Kings Project Flickr album.

building a railing

Washington Building Congress Brings Pro Team to Help Alexandria Couple
Washington Building Congress (WBC) is a commercial trade association consisting of businesses from the real estate, design, and construction community – a perfect partner for National Rebuilding Day. House Captain Juliane Medd brought together a skilled team of industry professionals to help Mr. and Mrs. H with repairs and modifications at their Alexandria home. Mrs. H is a wheelchair user and was not able to leave their home without assistance, so the installation of a ramp was a top priority for the team. Team member firms provided professional electricians, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers, and other volunteers to complete repairs and modifications including the installation of the ramp, a stove top vent, double stair railings, LED light fixtures, GFCI outlets, a comfort height toilet and bathroom grab bars. The WBC team helped the family by clearing out and disposing of old furniture, building shelves, and organizing their pantry and storage. The project had a large outdoor component, so the Landscape Team was busy clearing out the overgrowth and brought in a bobcat to haul out sections of a tree that had fallen years before. “Mr. H has a lot of pride in his property, and was especially proud of his blueberry bushes,” said House Captain Juliane Medd. “We cleared a path so he could get to the blueberries easily. Mr. H was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the work but especially the small touches that showed we were listening, and we cared about him and his wife.”
Click here to see the WBC Project Flickr album.

“It takes a tremendous amount of compassion, organization and coordination to develop good rapport with the homeowner and pull off a one-day project” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “We are truly grateful to our partners and all the volunteers who came out for National Rebuilding Day to make life-changing repairs and modifications for our neighbors in need.”

Washington Building Congress NRD Team

National Rebuilding Day Was a Great Success!

Goodwill and hard work echoed throughout Arlington, Fairfax, and Falls Church (and around the country) on Saturday, April 30. Our faith and corporate partners, our individual volunteers who formed teams, and the professionals recruited to solve complex problems came together to support our neighbors in need.

National Rebuilding Day

April 30 is National Rebuilding Day!

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (Rebuilding Together AFF) will host more than 300 volunteers to repair 15 homes and nonprofit residential facilities on National Rebuilding Day – April 30, 2022 

Teams of volunteers from our faith and corporate partners will serve older adults, families with children, veterans,and two nonprofit housing services by making a variety of critical home repairs, including: flooring repairs and replacement, weatherization repairs, handrail replacements, accessibility modifications like grab bars and raised toilets, painting, landscaping, and other deferred maintenance items. The repairs are provided free of charge to our neighbors in need, who are often faced with diminishing resources and must choose food and medicine over critical home repairs. 

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, 45 million homes in the United States have at least one serious home hazard present; these have the capacity to directly impact a family’s physical health and safety.

“The last few years have shown us the importance of having a safe place to call home,” said Patti Klein, Rebuilding Together AFF Executive Director. “The critical repairs being made not only in April, but year-round are improving the physical and mental health of our neighbors, increasing their safety and sense of independence and are improving their economic security and sense of community connection.”

Rebuilding Together AFF has been a leader in safe and healthy housing in our region since 1988. To date we’ve gathered over 70,000 volunteers who have made repairs and modifications on more than 2,500 homes and nonprofits. Our volunteers have provided over $15 million in donated labor.

National Rebuilding Day originated in 1973 in Midland, Texas with volunteers helping neighbors rebuild their homes. The group founded Rebuilding Together, at the time “Christmas in April,” and gathered around a month of service each year in April. The mission then grew beyond the idea of providing service one month per year to bringing volunteers together to provide neighbors in need with critical repairs year-round. 

Please donate to support safe and healthy homes for everyone.

#WeAreRebuilders

Don Ryan

Check Your Home for Health and Safety Hazards

Join Don Ryan, Rebuilding Together-AFF Director of Partnerships, to learn how you can check your home for health and safety hazards.

Click the image below to start the video presentation.

 

Check Presentation

RT-AFF Receives Grant From Arlington Community Federal Credit Union

ACFCU Check Presentation

Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) presented RT-AFF with a grant of $10,000 based on our shared visions for safe housing in Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church. ACFCU CEO Karen L. Rosales presented the grant on Saturday, March 19 and visited a project where our RT Express volunteers were making health and safety repairs for Mrs. S. The grant is for general operations and provides unrestricted funding to RT-AFF. “It is a great pleasure to welcome ACFCU as a new partner in our mission of rebuilding homes to restore safety and well-being for our neighbors in need,” said Patti Klein. “It’s clear that they share in our commitment and enthusiasm in helping communities improve and thrive through direct action. This generous grant has already made an impact for one longtime Arlington homeowner and it will allow us to help other neighbors who are waiting for critical repairs and life-saving fall prevention.”
ACFCU gives back beyond monetary grants. They also provide financial education programs for schools and nonprofits, long-term partnerships with local organizations and help community members reach their financial goals. Click here to learn more about ACFCU’s community outreach.
Bob Austin Head shot

Bob Austin Receives 2022 Privilege Award

Bob Austin, a longtime Rebuilding Together-AFF volunteer was honored with the Bernie L. Bates Foundation Privilege Award for 2022. This is the highest form of recognition bestowed by the Board of Directors of the Foundation and was presented to Bob for his outstanding service to the Fairfax County community. This year’s award recognizes a person who most closely follows the tenets and principals practiced by the late Col. (Ret.) Marion “Barney” Barnwell. Barney served on the RT-AFF board and served as a House Captain for more than 30 National Rebuilding Day projects. Barney consistently demonstrated his passion to “pay it forward” through his community involvement and volunteerism.

Bob’s lifelong service to others epitomizes the example that Barney set for us all in helping others at every opportunity.

Bob started volunteering with us 18 years ago as a member of his church team for National Rebuilding Day. After retiring he joined our pool of skilled individual volunteers and started volunteering with us year-round.

Bob’s skills and savvy home remodeling skills and his desire to do more prompted him to become a Rebuilding Together Express team leader to help low-income seniors continue to live safely in their homes. As a member of the Rebuilding Together AFF Program Committee, Bob helped develop Worksite Safety COVID-19 Protocols to keep our clients and volunteers safe – and allow our small teams to continue working through the pandemic to help those at great risk of health and safety hazards in their homes. Over the past five years Bob has led or worked on more than 75 projects and was one of a handful of volunteers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic. This past year Bob and our other RT Express Team Leaders were recognized by Volunteer Fairfax as Social Advocacy Group of the Year.

In keeping with the inspiring example that Barney set, Bob exemplifies the meaning of volunteerism through the amazing work he does with Rebuilding Together and for so many other community groups including co-chairing a co-op that provides food to over 200 families each month and picking up 2,000 pounds of food each week. He is actively involved in the Fairfax County Faith Community in Action volunteer program, a trustee and building manager for a nonprofit on the Rt. 1 Corridor and volunteers with several other groups. We are very fortunate that Bob lives in our community and takes the time and effort to make a tangible difference for those in need.

We offer our most sincere congratulations and thanks to Bob.

 

Daniel with volunteers

RT-AFF Builds Ramps to help People with Disabilities Remain in Their Homes

Don cutting lumberRamps are critical to help many homeowners with disabilities safely enter and exit their homes. RT-AFF volunteers and staff have built five ramps since July 2021. Some of the homeowners we’ve helped were unable to get out of their homes for critical medical appointments without assistance from first responders or very strong friends to lift them. Other homeowners risked falling each time they left their home, so they became isolated.

The ramps we build allow homeowners to leave their homes safely and without fear. Ramps allow them to make more trips to get medical care, make more choices in their daily activities, reconnect with family and friends and safely age in place.

Each ramp requires a lot of planning and design. We take into consideration the specific point of entry to the home, space limitations, the slope of the property, and the maximum slope allowable for ramps.

Collage of photos
Some ramps are fairly simple, like the one we built for Daniel in Fairfax (pictured above). Materials cost about $250 and a team of four volunteers spent about 19 hours on the design, buying and delivering materials, and building the ramp.

Ramp almost complete
In contrast, Angela lives in a mobile home in Alexandria. The front door of her home is elevated 30” above the sidewalk. Materials for her ramp cost close to $1,500 and our team spent about 150 hours designing and constructing the ramp (pictured above).


Thanh’s ramp at his home in Falls Church was built inside an enclosed porch with a concrete floor, so our team didn’t have to dig footers and pour concrete. Still, planning and building the ramp and repairing the walkway from the ramp to the front of the home took about 120 hours. Thanh and his wife are extremely happy to have safe access to their home.

Our volunteers love the teamwork and camaraderie of working together to build ramps and make other accessibility modifications and repairs. Our volunteers, donors and partners make all this work possible so homeowners in need can live safely in their own homes.

Visit our Flickr to see more photos of our ramp projects and other repairs and modifications we’ve made to help homeowners in need.