While Rebuilding Together Alexandria may not be a household name, we aim to be — especially since we are all about rebuilding houses.
As an Alexandria-based nonprofit, we focus on empowering people to help their neighbors. In fact, we’ve helped more than 1,700 of our neighbors since 1986 with our corps of committed volunteers, many of whom have experience repairing and renovating homes.
We team up with our volunteers to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize the community by providing free repairs and modifications. Since most of our clients have incomes near the poverty line, these upgrades can make a big difference and help them stay in their homes.
After all, the affordable housing squeeze that many experience also impacts longtime homeowners. These are people who can’t afford to move, but have difficulty affording to stay as well. Helping them remain in their homes is important to strengthening our community and preserving affordable housing.
To do so, we focus on repairing and revitalizing homes while making it an easy, stress-free experience for homeowners in need of a little extra help. In addition to the repairs requested, our volunteers follow a 22-point checklist to ensure homes are safe and healthy living spaces.
Throughout the year, our volunteers can be found — with checklists in hand — hammering, sawing, mulching and more throughout the community. When spring arrives, we celebrate by hosting National Rebuilding Day — the ultimate sign of renewal and revitalization.
Here in Alexandria, that means hundreds of volunteers spread out around the city and help neighbors with repairs and upgrades to their homes. The work is fun but has become increasingly important as more low-income homeowners struggle to maintain their homes.
This spring, 800 volunteers fixed fences, installed doors and windows, repaired bathrooms, cleared yards and installed cabinets, all at no cost to homeowners in need, including elderly, disabled, military veterans and families. Their efforts meant that these neighbors didn’t have to make tough choices about choosing whether to pay for medicine or food or home maintenance.
In the fall, we focus on helping residents get ready for the winter. In fact, during our Energize Alexandria event in October, volunteers will conduct energy audits and then install weather stripping, low flow aerators, outlet sealants, door sweeps, energy efficient appliances, insulation and more. These upgrades help people stay warm and save money.
If you know of anyone who could benefit from our free services or would like to help, contact us at www.rebuildingtogetheralex.org or 703-836-1021. The gift of a referral can be life changing.
The writer is the president and CEO of Rebuilding Together Alexandria.