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

Volunteers working on roof

Our 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 have made our work possible, even during such challenging times. In 2021, our volunteers gave 3,200 hours to help us complete 89 projects (86 houses and 3 nonprofits). That amounts to $209,000 in donated labor!

80% 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 watch our video and 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!

Click on the images below to open our Year in Review and to view our slideshow:
Year in Review

 

 

Fall Rebuilding Days

Our first Fall Rebuilding Day was a huge success thanks to the support of seven of our longtime partners and a team of our year-round volunteers. The repairs and modifications they made will have a lasting impact for the homeowners and nonprofit residential facilities that we served.

We are incredibly proud of our team leaders and volunteers who joined us after missing two National Rebuilding Days due to the pandemic. “I was fortunate to visit many of the nine projects on Saturday to see our teams in action,” said Patti Klein, Executive Director. “The energy and smiles from the volunteers and homeowners were contagious! Everyone was excited to be back out in the community doing what they love – making a tangible difference in the hearts and homes of our neighbors.”

More than 100 community members volunteered their time to tackle a variety of repairs and modifications to correct health and safety hazards that included: installing grab bars and railings; making plumbing and electrical repairs; replacing appliances that were no longer functioning; installing new toilets, vanities, faucets and exhaust fans in bathrooms; patching and painting damaged walls, doors and ceilings; diverting water away from homes; removing and repairing broken fences; tacking overgrown yards; and so much more.

Please join me in thanking our caring and dedicated volunteers for an incredible day of work! And a special thank you to the women and men who served as team leaders who spent countless hours planning repairs, coaching their teams and sweating the details to make their projects a success.

2021 Fall Rebuilding Day Partners:

ACCA – Annandale Christian Community for Action
Bush Hill Presbyterian Church
Dulin United Methodist Church
Fairfax United Methodist Church
The Falls Church Episcopal
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
RT-AFF Year-Round Volunteers

RLAH Real Estate hosted their very first Rebuild on September 15 in Arlington. It was a big success and the volunteers had a great day working together to help a neighbor in need.

Dell Technologies Women in Action DC/Virginia Chapter completed our first She-Build project, bringing together a team of women volunteers to help a single mother by making repairs at her home so she and her family can live safely.

Here are some highlights from our Fall Rebuilding Days.

4 photos of volunteers working
Burke United Methodist Church (pictured above) has been partnering with RT-AFF since 1998. House Captains Mike Holmes and Mike Sawin can always be counted on to accept challenging rebuilding projects and this year was no different. The BUMC team made critical repairs for a retired couple in Burke whose townhome was frequently inundated with water due to its low position in the neighborhood, and poor drainage. The team developed and executed a water mitigation plan and rainwater now drains into a nearby culvert rather than into the family’s basement. Faulty work in the basement done by a paid contractor also had to be corrected so the team replaced studs, installed drywall, painted, and made electrical repairs , transforming the rooms into bright, welcoming spaces where the couple’s grandchildren can play safely. They also cleared a dryer vent blocked by mice nests and made many other critical repairs and safety modifications. Mr. J said “Mike and the team did a great job. If there was something that needed doing they got it done. We’re very grateful and we feel safer and more secure in our home.”
three photos of team at work
Dell Technologies Women in Action DC/MD/VA Chapter (above)  joined us for their first rebuild and our first She Build. “Helping Dina was really empowering for both her and our team of volunteers,” said House Captain and RT-AFF Board member Jean Edwards. “Some of our team members learned to do home maintenance projects they’ve never done before, and we helped Dina develop a sense of pride of ownership. She was overwhelmed by her responsibilities as a single mother, and tremendously grateful for our assistance.”
Fairfax United Methodist Church (pictured above) made repairs at two Gabriel Homes residences. Gabriel Homes provides residential placement, training and community integration for adults with developmental disabilities and is a nonprofit that the FUMC team loves to support. House Captains Mary McDaniel and Patricia Hupalo and their teams painted many rooms in both homes, making the rooms brighter and more welcoming. The teams created safe and tidy outdoor spaces for the residents by clearing overgrown plants and brush that were tripping hazards, correcting standing water problems that allowed biting insects to thrive, and taking care of other deferred maintenance. Outdoor spaces are an especially critical need during the pandemic and bring joy to the residents of Gabriel Homes.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Arlington completed their 34th rebuilding project with us this fall. Homeowners Mr. and Mrs. C enjoyed the camaraderie and great rapport with the St. Peter’s volunteers. The C’s now have a fully functional, safe bathroom and a working kitchen after living without a shower and with multiple broken appliances. The team corrected 10 health and safety priorities and the C’s home now meets all 25 RT Health and Safety Priorities. “We had a great day!” exclaimed House Captain Tony Poole. “Rebuilding Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it allows us to give back and help a family re-establish safety and livability in their home. I can’t wait for our next Rebuilding Day.” The team was honored to have a visit from Arlington County Board Member Matt De Ferranti. Team Captains Bruce Jolly and Tony Poole showed Matt around the project so he could see the importance of the work RT-AFF and our volunteers do for homeowners in need. RT-AFF receives funding from Arlington County through a Community Development Block Grant.
Patti Klein, Bruce Jolly, Matt De Ferranti and Tony Poole.

Patti Klein, Bruce Jolly, Matt De Ferranti and Tony Poole.

Allen Schirmer, Founding Board Member, Retires

by Bruce Jolly, RT-AFF Board Member

Allen Schimer, Bruce Jolly and Tony Poole (l-r)

Allen Schirmer, one of Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church’s founders and Treasurer of the Board of Directors, recently retired from our Board. Allen’s retirement from the Board comes with a sense of gratitude on all fronts.

Allen began volunteering with Christmas in April, the precursor to Rebuilding Together, in 1988. The rector of our church, St. Peter’s Episcopal in Arlington, asked him to take on the church’s first project. Knowing that having a partner would make things easier, Allen recruited me. We’ve been RT-AFF partners for 32 years and I’m grateful he brought me along on this journey.

In 2010, Patti Klein asked me to participate in a focus group to talk about how to develop a new nonprofit organization, as they had been operating as a program of another nonprofit at the time and it became clear what we needed to become an independent organization. I said yes, as long as Allen could come too.

Allen volunteered to serve as Treasurer for the new nonprofit – Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church, Inc. He set up strong financial controls and developed indicators of financial health to make Rebuilding Together – AFF a successful organization. The solid financial groundwork he laid is helping us weather the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of the magic of Rebuilding Together – AFF is our volunteers and teams. Allen and I have had a lot of fun repairing 33 homes with our St. Peter’s team for National Rebuilding Day (NRD), RT-AFF’s signature annual event in April. It’s always a pleasure to stand with Allen at the end of a project and thank the homeowner for allowing us into their life. The ability to bring hope and a safer place to live to a neighbor in need is an incredible opportunity for both the homeowners and the volunteers. Sharing this with Allen has brought great joy to everyone involved.

Allen and I have had many successes and met more than a few challenges as NRD House Captains. We’ve learned something from every homeowner we’ve helped. NRD boils down to three important lessons. First, we make homes safer and more livable. Second, our teams learn incredibly valuable lessons about working together in new ways. Finally, it’s a great feeling to know our effort has given those we assist the feeling they can carry on because we can do more with many hands than they could do alone. These lessons also illuminate the way I feel about having worked so closely with Allen for 32 years.

I speak for the entire Rebuilding Together – AFF Board, staff and our community of volunteers and homeowners to thank Allen for his 32 years of dedicated service. We appreciate his leadership and his dedication to excellence. We are grateful for his many contributions to Rebuilding Together – AFF’s success so our neighbors in need can live in safe and healthy homes. We wish Allen all the best as he leaves the board and moves to a new community to be closer to family and grandchildren.

Allen and Colleagues

National Rebuilding Day 2018

Thank you and congratulations to all of our House Captains and volunteers who worked on National Rebuilding Day and the days and weeks surrounding April 28th.

With the support of over 650 community members, 29 low-income families and non-profit organizations that house and serve vulnerable populations in our area are now safer and healthier places to live. It’s amazing to see so many people working together on National Rebuilding Day, helping their neighbors remain in their homes by making critical repairs like building new and stable steps with hand rails, fixing plumbing leaks, modifying bathrooms for wheelchair users, replacing windows to make homes safer and more energy efficient and so much more. Read more

Burke Home Transformed Inside and Out

Pat’s home looked okay from the outside. She did what she could to keep the exterior in good condition. But inside, the house had deteriorated. She didn’t have the money or the strength to make repairs on her own.

Thankfully, Burke United Methodist Church (UMC) stepped in to help. They came just in time, making necessary repairs to improve Pat’s health and safety. Read more