Friday, April 29, 2011

Some Low Income Elderly Getting Free Home Fix-ups

1,000 volunteers from more than 30 Pittsburgh area companies and organizations will come together Saturday, April 30 for the 19th annual Rebuilding Day to provide low-income senior citizens with much-needed home repairs.
The event is sponsored by Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, a non-profit whose goal is to preserve affordable homeownership by providing rehabilitation services to those in need at no cost.
Alan Sisco, program director for the Pittsburgh chapter of the organization, says nationwide they operate in about 200 cities and towns to help low-income people "stay safe in their homes. So, we bring resources and skills to bear, to provide in Pittsburgh's case, primarily seniors with free home repairs."

Sisco says the work and all materials and supplies are free to the homeowner, and that Rebuilding Day highlights the extensive work they do throughout the year. He says there is an application process and low-income seniors are often referred to Rebuilding Together by social service agencies. According to Sisco, professional home inspectors volunteer to look at the homes and determine what needs to be done then "we take a look at what resources we have ...and match the home up with a qualified volunteer group."

This Saturday the volunteers will be working on 31 homes in the Pittsburgh area. "We'll be doing everything from cleaning up yards, clearing out gutters, painting, landscaping, building wheelchair ramps, installing wheelchair accessible bathtubs. We've got people receiving new roofs, where their roofs were leaking. We're installing new electrical service where outlets were no longer safe. There is nothing in the scope of home modification that is beyond our volunteers."

Sisco says it's truly a community effort with volunteers from companies, churches, schools and building trades unions.

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