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.

 

Volunteer Team

Wells Fargo Grant Funds Deep Repairs for Alexandria Homeowners

Thanks to a grant from the Wells Fargo Builds program, RT-AFF completed repairs for three families in Alexandria in the Audubon Community of manufactured homes. The Wells Fargo Builds program provides philanthropic financial support for the construction, renovation and repair of homes for low-to-moderate income households. Nationally, Wells Fargo donated $1.25 million to Rebuilding Together. Since 2010, Wells Fargo has donated more than $16 million to Rebuilding Together and its affiliate network and last year RT affiliates collaborated with Wells Fargo to repair 100 homes.

Manufactured homes, sometimes called mobile homes, are an important source of affordable housing in our expensive housing market. Our team met the Audubon Community property manager when our volunteers built a wheelchair ramp for another homeowner. The property manager was delighted to learn about Rebuilding Together and introduced us to the homeowners in dire need of repairs, and she made our job easier by arranging for disposal of trash and old appliances.

All three of the homes we worked on were over 35 years old and in need of deep repairs, including roof repairs. Our first priority was making the homes watertight. Wells Fargo’s grant allowed us to hire a roofing contractor to repair and seal the roofs on all three homes.

installing range hoodMr. And Mrs. C’s home was built in 1976 and the kitchen floor was badly deteriorated and about to collapse. Our volunteer team removed multiple layers of flooring, including ceramic tile, to get to the root of the problem. They secured failing joists, replaced missing insulation and the subfloor, and then installed underlayment and finally a durable vinyl plank floor. They replaced the stove, a kitchen cabinet, and installed a range hood with an exhaust fan vented outside to keep the air clean in their small home. The couple now feels safe in their home and embraced by the kindness of our volunteers.

Bill Marshall, the volunteer team leader for the project said, “Mr. C just loved his new kitchen floor and range hood, and all the repairs we made. His happy eyes from beneath his mask and his multiple “thank yous,” after just having returned from a chemo session, reminded me of how blessed I am, and how much enjoyment I get from giving back to neighbors in need like Mr. and Mrs. C.”


The second homeowner we helped was Ms. T. who has chronic health problems and had lost her job at a nearby Senior Center due to the pandemic. Ms. T loves to cook but her kitchen had no cabinets, countertops, sink or working stove. The grant from Wells Fargo and the work done by our volunteers was truly a gift to Ms. T. Our team of volunteers and staff installed cabinets, countertops and a sink with a garbage disposal. They installed a new range and a stove-top vent to keep the air clean from cooking grease and odors. The team also installed a grab bar in the bathroom, repaired the wooden stairs, and replaced the clothes dryer and vented it safely outside. Ms. T now has a fully functioning kitchen and can safely age in place in her modest home. Here’s part of Ms. T’s survey:

Ms. T's Thank you note

 

working in the small kitchenErick and Mirna are a young couple expecting their first child. Erick had been tirelessly working to rehab their mobile home. It was constructed in 1982 and the couple pulled together all their resources and had hands-on help from family and friends, but money was tight, and they could not afford to finish repairs. With their first child arriving soon, they desperately needed a functioning kitchen. Erick had already purchased kitchen cabinets and he worked alongside our volunteers to tackle some of the interior repairs. Our team finished installing the cabinets and installed a garbage disposal, stove, microwave, and kitchen exhaust fan. The team also installed drywall in another room of the home. We are awaiting delivery of a replacement window that will help make it easier for Erik and Mirna to heat and cool their small home.

Erick wrote to us, “I have a kitchen again and I can cook for my family!  Thank you for your team. They are all good people. And thank you for your time, and for your dedication for helping others.”

Check out photos from the projects funded by Wells Fargo and many other #Rebuilding projects on our Flickr.

Three completed projects

Volunteers working

Amazon Web Services Fall Rebuilding Day

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (RT-AFF) is excited to kick off a new collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS’s head of Global Social Impact Maggie Carter was familiar with Rebuilding Together having previously led Day of Service projects in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA when she was driving community relations and social responsibility at the National Basketball Association. The AWS Global Social Impact team works alongside governments, nonprofits, international aid organizations, academia, and private entities to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges by applying AWS’s resources including cloud computing technology and expertise as well as volunteer and financial support.

The AWS team of 12 skilled, hardworking volunteers came together on a sunny fall day in November 2021 to assist Mrs. B, an 87-year-old homeowner in Springfield. “We are thrilled that Maggie and the team from Amazon Web Services joined us for a Fall Rebuilding Day,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director. “They put together a great team with many rebuilding skills, they were passionate about helping and they had fun too.”

“Supporting the individuals and communities is a priority for our team. It is gratifying to be able to roll up our sleeves with Rebuilding Together to support members of the local community,” said Maggie Carter, Global Social Impact Lead, AWS. “We’re proud to support Rebuilding Together and it’s mission to uplift the community by revitalizing neighborhood homes.”

Mr. and Mrs. B were the original owners of their home. They took great pride in their home, and Mr. B, a veteran of the Korean War, was very handy and maintained the home himself. After Mr. B died, Mrs. B did her best to keep up, but the list of needed repairs and safety modifications kept growing. Her front stoop had sunk so she lugged two cinder blocks over to serve as steps. Each bathroom had a different problem and not one was fully functional, water was pooling around the foundation during rainstorms, pests were getting into the home and her yard was overgrown.

The team worked hard and with great enthusiasm all day. Inside the home volunteers installed smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and long-lasting LED lights so all the rooms, hallways and stairways are brighter and safer. The team installed a new, sturdy railing on Mrs. B’s stairs and grab bars in her bathrooms to reduce her risk of falling.  They also made a few plumbing repairs and caulked the bathrooms and then a plumber was hired to take care of more complex repairs. Mrs. B’s bathrooms are now fully functional and safe.

Outside, volunteers built a new front step so Mrs. B can safely enter and leave her home. A tripping hazard created by the uneven front walkway was repaired, and they cleaned the gutters so water is carried away from the foundation and doesn’t pool in the yard. The team cleaned up the yard, trimmed trees that were encroaching on the house, and removed ivy that was growing on the house. Holes in the siding that were allowing pests to get inside were filled, and the volunteers pressure washed the siding and even washed Mrs. B’s car. Mrs. B was incredibly grateful for the help and at the end of the day told the volunteers “I love each of you and appreciate your work, efforts, and your energy. I know when you go to the next place that you will affect that homeowner the same way.”

The AWS team corrected 11 health and safety priorities and now Mrs. B’s home meets all 25 Rebuilding Together Health and Safety Priorities, making her home safe, healthy and livable.

See more photos on our Flickr.

Volunteers making safety repairs

Volunteers working

Helping Ms. P Breathe More Easily

Volunteers removing carpetingOur neighbor Ms. P has lived in her home for 23 years. She raised a big family and had a good job with the federal government. She yearned to be in a helping field, so she went to night school to become a medical assistant. She dreamed of helping babies and older people. Then, due to health complications she had to stop working, and stop going to school.

Ms. P is proud, self-sufficient, and doesn’t like to ask for help. Then she realized she was no longer able to go up and down her stairs safely. And when her doctor told her that the old carpeting in her living rooms was contributing to her breathing problems, she accepted that she couldn’t do everything on her own.

Our volunteers made essential repairs to help make her home safe again, all a zero cost to Ms. P.

OurVolunteers showing new floor volunteers installed grab bars in her bathroom, a second stair rail and LED light fixtures to brighten her kitchen, hallway and stairway. But the thing that brought the most joy to Ms. P was her new living room floor. Our team removed the old wall to wall carpeting and replaced it with vinyl plank flooring, removing a major source of allergens and asthma triggers and helping Ms. P breathe more easily.

Ms. P sent us a lovely handwritten note, saying in part, “Thank you for all you do for the people you bring joy to… Please know you are making a difference and you are appreciated.” (Ms. P’s letter is included at the bottom of this page).

Through our years of helping our community, we know just how much a safe and healthy home brings a new sense of hope to a senior aging in place, a family trying to make ends meet, or a disabled person who wants to remain in their home.

The last two years have challenged all of us in new and unexpected ways. We have felt that keenly at Rebuilding Together-AFF when talking to the neighbors we serve.

Your support can help make a year that has been difficult for everyone a little better. Please support our work with the most generous contribution you can. Your gift will bring warmth, safety and caring into the home of someone right here in our area.

With your support, we are able to help neighbors like Ms. P.

Click here to make a tax deductible contribution, or mail your gift to:

RT-AFF, 10723 Main St, Ste 135, Fairfax, VA 22030

 

 

IRA Charitable Rollovers are a Win-Win-Win

by Andrew Dumont, Chair

Did you know you can support no-cost home repairs for low-income homeowners, lower your taxes, and meet your Individual Retirement Account’s (IRA) required minimum distribution? That’s what I call a win-win-win, and it is possible if you direct your IRA’s trustee to make a qualified charitable distribution to Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church (RT-AFF).

As you may know, if you are the owner of a traditional IRA, you must generally start receiving distributions from your IRA by April 1 of the year following the year in which you reach age 72. These distributions must equal at least a minimum amount, commonly referred to as the required minimum distribution.

What you may not know is that qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) count towards your required minimum distribution. A QCD is generally a nontaxable distribution made directly by the trustee of your IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE IRA) to an organization eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions (like RT-AFF!). You must be at least age 70 1/2 when the distribution was made.

The maximum annual exclusion for QCD’s is $100,000. Any QCD in excess of the $100,000 exclusion limit is included in income like any other distribution. If you file a joint return, your spouse can also have a QCD and exclude up to $100,000 from his or her income. The amount of the QCD is limited to the amount of the distribution that would otherwise be included in income. If your IRA includes nondeductible contributions, the distribution is first considered to be paid out of otherwise taxable income. It is important to note that you can’t also claim a charitable contribution deduction for any QCD that you have excluded from your income. Read more

Grab bar installation

Low Cost Home Modifications to Prevent Falls

Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church has developed an effective system for identifying and correcting fall hazards in low-income seniors’ homes. Our Rebuilding Together Express program won the Commonwealth Council on Aging’s Best Practices award in 2018. In completing repairs to more than 218 homes we’ve demonstrated that relatively simple and low-cost repairs, modifications, and equipment can correct most fall hazards. Our small teams of RT Express volunteers correct 95% of fall hazards through half-day projects spending less than $500 for materials. ​Click the image below to watch the presentation that Don Ryan and Lucy Stein made at the Virginia Governor’s Conference on Aging.

Presenters: Don Ryan, Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church
Lucy Stein, MSOTR/L, CAPS MedStar Health

RT-AFF Recognizes Retiring Board Members

RT-AFF recently recognized four outstanding board members who retired from our board after a combined total of 70 years of service – Col. (Ret.) Marion “Barney” Barnwell, Alberto Garcia, Beverly J. Merchant and Paul S. Schleifman, Esq.

“Rebuilding Together – AFF was formed and has benefited greatly from Barney, Beverly, Al and Paul’s expertise and collegial generosity. Our staff, board and our many partners feel privileged to have worked with these board members and are enormously grateful to them for their many contributions,” said Patti Klein, RT-AFF Executive Director.

Three of the four board members (Barney, Beverly and Paul) were instrumental in establishing Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church, Inc. as an independent non-profit affiliate of Rebuilding Together, Inc.

Barney began volunteering with the organization when it was a program of another nonprofit. Barney served as the unofficial Parliamentarian to the board and his quiet and thoughtful leadership style along with his extensive experience working on other boards of directors helped the board grow and shine. Barney was a National Rebuilding Day Team Leader for Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for 35 years. “The Psi Alpha Alpha team worked on a lot of houses,” reflected Barney, “and I’m really proud that we have worked where people really need help – along the Route 1 corridor in Fairfax County.” He continued by saying “Our board worked very well together, from the first day we discussed becoming an independent nonprofit. This was the key to RT-AFF’s growth and success.”

Paul (r) was instrumental in creating the legal framework to establish Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church, Inc. Bruce Jolly, another founding RT-AFF board member, brought Paul on board. They were once law partners and Bruce knew that the team needed someone with Paul’s skills and acumen. “From September 2010 through January 2011 I worked with Bruce and Patti to form the new entity, develop by-laws, apply for tax exempt status and recruit the Board of Directors,” recalled Paul. “We received our 501(c)3 status in six weeks – we were astonished it happened so quickly!” Paul served as RT-AFF’s Corporate Secretary for 11 years and modestly said “It was really cool to create an organization from scratch.”

Beverly joined the board just as the new Rebuilding Together – AFF was getting off the ground. “The foundation had been laid, including all the legal work, but the construction still had a long way to go,” recounted Beverly. “Being part of the team that worked on building RT-AFF was especially rewarding because we knew that having a well-functioning board was necessary to assure that RT-AFF could fulfill its mission and expand the services provided.” Beverly served as Board Secretary, Chair of the Governance Committee, and  as an NRD Team Leader for a group of real estate agents from Keller Williams McLean. Beverly also spent many NRD’s as an RT-AFF ambassador, visiting teams at work, spreading cheer, taking photographs for our marketing efforts and getting to know the homeowners the teams were assisting.

Al joined the RT-AFF board in 2014 and in addition to being an all-around engaged board member, including as Vice Chair of the board, Al was a key member of RT-AFF’s leadership team for the NeighborWorks America Excellence in Governance (EIG) program. During the 18-months of the EIG process, Al’s service on numerous other boards brought an important perspective to the leadership team’s discussions about how the board could take its work to the next level. “Al’s insights helped us to better organize ourselves and focus our efforts in a way that has since allowed us to better support the critical work that RT-AFF carries out in our communities every day,” said Andrew Dumont, RT-AFF Chair. “We will miss Al’s quick wit and sharp intellect but know the organization will forever benefit from the many ways he invested his time and passion into RT-AFF over the years.”

Al also brought on M&T Bank as a sponsor and team for National Rebuilding Day. Al and the M&T team have enjoyed supporting our programs by working on numerous non-profit residential facilities and one home as part of their commitment to our community.

Thank you Barney, Beverly, Al and Paul for your service to Rebuilding Together – AFF.

 

Installing a railing

Celebrating our 218th RT Express Project!

Created in 2015 to fill a gap in our services, Rebuilding Together Express (RT Express) augments and complements our traditional home repair program. RT Express allows us to respond more rapidly to help more low-income homeowners age in place safely and comfortably. RT Express has evolved steadily. In 2015 we tested this model in eight homes, in 2016 we adjusted the scope and repairs and refined procedures through 22 pilot projects, and in 2017 we increased capacity and standardized procedures to complete home modifications and repairs on 35 homes. Now in 2020 we are celebrating our 218th project!

Nine highly committed Team Leaders have been the heart and soul of RT Express over the past five years – Bob Austin, Brian Goggin, Mark Heslep, Patrick Hughes, Bard Jackson, Bill Marshall, Don McCubbin, Ken Mittelholtz and Woody Woodburn. They collaborate with RT-AFF staff to make a comprehensive assessment of each home, develop the scope of work, assemble tools and materials, oversee the repairs and establish a trusting relationship with our homeowners, who are mostly senior citizens. Fall safety is a top priority, with grab bars, double stair rails, comfort-height toilets, and brighter lighting leading the list of repairs. RT Express projects also address fire safety, security, moisture and ventilation problems, and energy-saving upgrades.

RT Express has drawn a pool of skilled and talented volunteers who work regularly on projects and take deep satisfaction in learning from each other and in making dramatic differences in our clients’ lives. “It’s so gratifying to put my remodeling skills to work to make such a profound difference in someone’s life,” said team leader Bob Austin.

Since the beginning of our RT Express program, our volunteers have been able to correct 95% of fall hazards and 92% of ALL hazards for the homeowners we’ve served. We measure our success using Rebuilding Together’s list of 25 Health and Safety Priorities.

Homeowner Mrs. B wrote this note to us to express her gratitude for the repairs and modifications we made at her home:

“The railing on the back stairs and the railing in the house and the gravel under the driveway and… I can’t name just one repair that made the biggest difference for me! All the repairs have lifted my spirits and made a big difference in my sense of physical and mental wellbeing.”

Please visit our Flickr page to see photos from our RT Express projects and many other projects we’ve completed for homeowners in need. We are extremely thankful to our RT Express Team Leaders and the men and women who have made it possible to help so many seniors age safely in place.

Check out our Flickr page for more project photos.

Railings, Half steps, Grab Bars

Grab bars, railings, dryer vents

Welcome New Board Members

We are very pleased to announce that Scott E. Brideau, Tamara Fye, Shanton Kittler and Norris Middleton have joined our Board of Directors.

Scott Brideau is the Workplace Studio Principal for Little Diversified Architectural Consulting’s Arlington office. With over 35 years of experience in the industry including seven in construction, he leads a team focused on office base building, mixed use and corporate interiors. He is responsible for client relationship management, business development, project coordination and scheduling, as well as staff development and growth.

As Co-Chair of the Community Outreach Committee for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of CoreNet, Scott became familiar with RT-AFF and RT-AFF’s excellent charity ratings sold him on becoming involved with us. Scott served as the CoreNet Team Leader for two projects with RT-AFF. For their 2015 project, the team worked on one of New Hope Housing’s homes in Alexandria making electrical repairs, replacing cabinets, power washing, caulking openings and securing loose siding, and cleaning gutters to reduce insects and to prevent water from entering the group home.

Scott is founding and current Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute Washington Sustainability Initiative Council, serves on an Arlington County Advisory Board that helped develop the 40-year comprehensive community energy sustainability plan, and is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Arlington, a nine-month program for established leaders, designed to strengthen and build community and increase the cohort’s impact on the organizations they serve.

“I am excited to join the RT-AFF board. My involvement as a team member and team leader on Rebuilding Together projects gave me a good background in the direct services that RT-AFF provides and how hands-on volunteers can make a big impact for homeowners in need and for nonprofit housing organizations,” said Scott. “I am looking forward to sharing my expertise and skills with the team. Everyone faces different challenges with the built environment and helping people live safely in their own homes is an essential community service.”

Tamara Fye is a well-respected and dedicated Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and Physical Therapist. Currently she is a consultant providing education and guidance to seniors and their families as they navigate independent living, assisted living and memory care placement. During her career she became known for creating operational stability and becoming personally engaged with the residents, families and staffs of the nursing homes where she served as Administrator or Executive Director. Her goal was to enhance successful and purposeful aging for the residents she served.

“I’m really pleased to bring my 34 years of experience and a deep understanding of seniors and their needs to Rebuilding Together – AFF,” said Tamara.

As a physical therapist Tamara developed a thorough understanding of how people move through and live in their homes and how to make homes safer. “People who choose to age in place, like many of the homeowners RT-AFF serves, have different needs than those who live in a structured environment,” Tamara said. “I feel privileged to serve on the RT-AFF board and to share my knowledge and expertise to make our community a better place for everyone.”

Shanton KittlerShanton Kittler, Senior Vice President, SBA Lending Manager at MainStreet Bank brings more than 15 years of banking experience to our board. Her passion for the small business community and her background in banking is extremely beneficial to Rebuilding Together – AFF as we continue to strengthen our financial position.

She is active in the banking community through her involvement with Business Network International, and she serves on the Board of Directors for FSC First, a certified development corporation, and Maryland Commercial Lenders Association. Shanton is also a mentor in the VBA Women’s Mentorship Pilot Program.

“I’m excited to serve on the Board of Rebuilding Together – AFF and to give back to the community, especially our seniors,” said Shanton. “As I’ve watched my mother age I’ve gained a lot of experience and understanding of the needs of seniors.” She continued saying “I’m in more of a caregiver role with my mother now, and I’ve been able to help her adapt her home to her mobility issues. I can only imagine what it’s like for seniors who don’t have families or the funds to take care of things like grab bars, high toilets and other modifications to keep them safe at home. I’m really excited to be part of the solution.”

Norris MiddletonNorris Middleton is the President and CEO of Management Support Technology, Inc, (MSTI), a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has over 50 years of professional experience in project management, systems engineering and integration, design, development, life cycle methodologies, testing and documentation. Norris is a U.S. Army veteran and has been volunteering with Rebuilding Together – AFF for more than 30 years on National Rebuilding Day as a member of the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity team. He comes to our board with the highest of recommendations from long-time RT-AFF Board Member Col. (Ret.) Marion “Barney” Barnwell.

Norris brings extensive financial, strategic planning, management and mentorship skills to our Board. Norris’ management style is critical to the success of MSTI. He explained “even though we have government customers, our first customers are our employees – if they are happy, then the customers that they serve are happy resulting in excellent evaluations and recommendations.” He continued by saying “getting people to buy-in and feel as though the project is their own is critical to both my corporate work and my volunteer work.”

In addition to being a very active leader and member of Psi Alpha Alpha, Norris serves as the Treasurer for the National Veterans Small Business Coalition, Treasurer of RMOA Business Alliance and on the Board of Directors for the Bernie L. Bates Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“I’ve really enjoyed being part of National Rebuilding Day with Barney and our team,” said Norris. “Each of the projects we’ve worked on has been memorable and unique. It’s important to take care of members of our community and help make their lives easier.”