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

Lou at work

Behind the Scenes with Lou Wood – RT-AFF Stair Lift Expert

Lou developed a process that ensures the donated stair lifts are in good working order and can be safely re-used, spending about 10 hours on each donated stair lift.

American Trucks Positive Payload Program Supports RT-AFF

Rebuilding Together – AFF is pleased to announce that we’ve received a contribution from the American Trucks Positive Payload Program. American Trucks established the Positive Payload program in April 2017 to support non-profit organizations using pickup trucks in field work that improves local communities.

RT-AFF doesn’t own a truck, but we are fortunate that a several of our volunteers regularly bring their trucks to help us get materials and supplies to our project sites to help homeowners in need in our community.

You can learn more about the Positive Payload program here: https://www.americantrucks.com/positive-payload.html

Pictured below are (l-r) Scott Cambell, Doug Chapin, Alberto Chalmeta, Rich DiGiovanna, and Dick Meyers. The truck belongs to Dick Meyers, who’s been volunteering for Rebuilding Together-AFF more than 20 years. The team was making repairs for a Fairfax homeowner including repairing her back fence and shed door, air sealing her attic for energy efficiency, and installing a grab bar, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and a fire extinguisher.

 

 

Time Flies: RT Express Teams Have Helped 75 Seniors Age in Place in Their Homes

Our vision for Rebuilding Together Express has come true:  small teams of 4-5 volunteers, working 4-5 hours, and spending $400-$500 for materials are helping seniors age in place safely in their homes. We’ve refined our procedures, enlisted the help of more than 40 volunteers who want to work regularly throughout the year, and completed repairs to more than 75 homes. Read more

RT-AFF Wins Commonwealth Council on Aging Best Practices Award

Patti Klein, Christy Zeitz, Dr. Richard Lindsay and Don Ryan (l-r)

The Commonwealth Council on Aging presented its top Best Practices Award to Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church for demonstrating the effectiveness of surprisingly simple, low-cost repairs to correct health and safety hazards in low-income seniors’ homes. Dr. Richard Lindsay, Chair of the Council on Aging Best Practices Committee, presented  this competitive award, which comes with a $5,000 prize funded by Dominion Energy. Read more