Rebuilding Together-AFF in the Golden Gazette

The Golden Gazette published a story about RT-AFF in their September issue. This kind of story helps us reach more neighbors in need who can benefit from our repairs and modifications, and helps us recruit new volunteers and supporters. Click the photo to read the article.

 

 

The Golden Gazette is a free monthly community newsletter published by Fairfax County Department of Family Services – Older Adults. The newsletter covers a variety of topics and community news concerning older adults and caregivers. You can subscribe to the email version or have a paper copy mailed to your home (click to visit their website).

Working on the sidewalk

National Rebuilding Day – Three Faith Groups Partner to Assist a Veteran

Pouring and leveling cementNational Rebuilding Day included a variety of rewarding projects undertaken by our faith and corporate partners, including the work King of Kings Lutheran Church accomplished for Mr. W. in Centreville Mr. W. is a Marine Corps veteran who was stationed at Paris Island and Quantico before becoming a business owner in our area. He took care of his wife for many years until she passed away in 2020. Mr. W. took pride in his home but in recent years due to health issues and lack of financial resources he couldn’t keep up with the mounting maintenance and repairs needed to continue to live safely in his home of 56 years.

It Takes a Village

For over 20 years, we have counted on our partner King of Kings Lutheran Church to take on challenging projects.  Due to the breadth of the work needed on this home, team leader Oscar vontwo volunteers Bredow recruited volunteers from Fairfax United Methodist and Christ Presbyterian Churches to partner with his church. In total, 35 volunteers with a range of skills worked over two weekends to make Mr. W’s home safer. The first weekend a smaller group of volunteers cleared out extensive debris from a tree-damaged back porch.

Then on National Rebuilding Day, the larger team worked together to improve access to the house, make safety modifications and repairs, and do a major yard clean-up The volunteers patched the driveway, and spent hours removing the old walkway and building a new walkway to the front steps. The process included hauling bags of cement, running the cement mixer, pouring cement, and leveling and smoothing the cement. They also repaired the steps to the front porch and replaced the porch light so Mr. W. can now safely enter and leave his home.

Inside the house, the work focused on aging-in-place modifications like installing a comfort height toilet and grab bars in the main bathroom; fire safety by installing smoke detectors, changing out the plastic accordion dryer vent to metal ducting and replacing the kitchen exhaust fan to remove grease, smoke and fumes from the kitchen; and tackling a host of other repairs that included installing a new cooktop, replacing the leaking dishwasher, repairing a leaking pipe in the basement, removing old carpet and installing vinyl plank flooring.

Good Work is its Own Reward

With this much work to do, the team ended up spending 10 hours at the house on National Rebuilding Day (NRD), plus additional hours preparing materials and removing debris the week prior to NRD. You can see how our generous volunteers participated in the work with enthusiasm and smiles:

The homeowner’s daughter, who lives in Maryland, expressed her appreciation to the team:

“When you see everyone in church tomorrow who worked so hard on my Dad’s house today, please tell them how VERY MUCH we appreciated everyone’s time! Everyone who came was so helpful, suggestive, kind, friendly, and skillful! Both their talents and graciousness shone through. All worked so hard today, and we appreciate and thank every one of you. Bless you all!”

We’re grateful to our partners at King of Kings Lutheran Church, Fairfax United Methodist Church, and Christ Presbyterian Church and proud of the work they did to ensure that Mr. W. is safe and comfortable in his home.

If you’d like to get involved in supporting a rebuilding project or if you know a homeowner in the area who could use our support, please contact us!

 

Team in front of the house

Please visit our Flickr albums for more photos from this project and all of our National Rebuilding Day 2023 projects.

RT-AFF and Fannie Mae Partner to Assist Burke Seniors

cutting wood for the shedVolunteers from Fannie Mae joined RT-AFF to help Pedro and Ana during Fannie Mae’s SERVE impact month. The team of volunteers were excited to get out from behind their computers and help make Pedro and Ana’s home safe and take care of deferred maintenance. Pedro had been a handyman and took a lot of pride in maintaining their home but due to severe health problems he had to stop working and was no longer able to continue to tackle the maintenance issues.

The Fannie Mae volunteers worked alongside skilled RT-AFF volunteers who mentored and trained them how to make a variety of home repairs. Together they added double handrails in the split foyer home to make it easier for Pedro to go up and down the stairs. The Fannie Mae volunteers learned how to make a bathroom more accessible by installing grab bars, a handheld shower head, a shower chair, and a comfort height toilet. They also learned how to re-fasten loose stair treads to alleviate a tripping hazard. A few volunteers worked alongside electrical experts to install a new ceiling fan with a light and fixed several three-way switches that have been a nagging problem to Pedro and Ana for years.

Pedro loves to go outside but Ana was afraid he would fall due to the many tripping hazards in the yard. The volunteers did a major yard clean-up and removed branches and logs. They also re-laid pavers so they are flush with each other and safer to walk on. The team learned to cut and install wood panels to refurbish the shed and made a minor roof repair to eliminate a leak.

 

Pedro and Ana are thrilled with all the repairs and very grateful to Fannie Mae and RT-AFF for partnering to help them. “The handrails and bathroom modifications are a huge help to Pedro, and the yard work too,” said Ana.  “I’m less afraid that he will fall and hurt himself inside the house and out in the yard. Thank you so much!”

You can find more photos from this work day on the RT-AFF Flickr.

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

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.