What requirements must homeowners meet to be eligible for your services?
Homeowners must be 62 years of age or older, meet federal low-income standards, own and live in their home, and carry a current homeowner’s policy. We also serve disabled homeowners of any age that meet all of the other requirements.
How do you choose your projects?
Homeowners must complete an application and provide proof of income and homeowners insurance. Once eligibility is verified, a series of inspections are conducted by House Captains that are trained to identify potential projects through a guided inspection process. After all inspections are complete, houses are graded on suitability for a Rebuild Day project and an appropriate number are selected based on financial resources. About one in ten applications pass the screening requirements and are accepted as a project.
How are funds distributed for each project?
All financial donations are pooled to maximize our impact in the community. Each project also receives materials and services that are donated in kind from individuals, government agencies, and companies, which allows us to keep our sponsorship cost low. RTBR can provide all materials and supplies for the Rebuild Event, so once a company or organization makes its financial contribution to sponsor a home, it should have no further out of pocket expenses. If unexpected expenses arise during the project, RTBR can arrange for payment or the sponsoring company can pay for the material or services and be reimbursed by RTBR.
What is the scope of a “typical” project?
Every project is different, but most projects require about 200 to 250 man-hours of labor. Our largest project was a homeless shelter renovation that required about 750 man-hours. Many projects may require a pre-work day\s to be completed before the Rebuild Event. On the Rebuild Day, about 20 to 30 volunteers complete the final work. Houses are evaluated during onsite inspections to determine the project difficulty level and we attempt to match houses with sponsors based on the sponsor’s abilities and any geographical preferences they may have.
When do you hold your Rebuild Event?
Our Rebuild Event typically takes place on the last Friday in April. If a company chooses, they can complete their Rebuild Event on the following Saturday. As the organization grows, we may be able to take on smaller repairs throughout the year.
How do you manage volunteer safety on your projects?
We have completed over one hundred projects over the last ten years involving over 1800 volunteers and over 20,000 volunteer hours. Our House Captains manage job site safety and we have never had an accident requiring medical attention. RTBR provides safety equipment and first aid supplies at each job site. We also are insured for accidents.
What things do you focus on during the renovations of the homes?
We focus on four keys areas: 1) Safety and Security: Installing deadbolts, security lighting, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, etc. 2) Weatherproofing: Replacing rotten siding, fascia, and soffit, replacing doors and windows as needed, roofing repairs, paint, etc. 3) Accessibility: Modifying homes to accommodate wheel chairs, walkers, and other disability related accommodations. 4) Comfort: Installing window air conditioning units, ceiling fans, landscape improvement, etc.
Do I have to work for a sponsoring company to volunteer?
No! Unassigned volunteers can be placed as needed with other sponsoring companies or placed on RTBR sponsored homes. Sometimes two sponsoring companies also partner their volunteers together to complete a house project.
Can I get involved outside of the Rebuild Event?
Yes! There are many opportunities to get involved beside the Rebuild Event including pre-work that takes place before the Rebuild Event, purchasing materials, staging materials in our warehouse, cleaning and organizing after the Rebuild Event, organizing volunteers, inspecting houses, developing public relations venues, joining the Board of Directors, etc.
How do homeowners apply for your services?
Homeowners that meet our acceptance criteria can call 225-358-7200 and leave their contact information including their mailing address (Our phone is manned by an answering service). An application will be mailed to them with instructions on how to apply and how the program works.
Are you affiliated with Habitat for Humanity?
We are not affiliated with Habitat for Humanity but our missions are complimentary. Habitat builds new homes for low-income families and finances the homes through interest free loans to the homeowners. Rebuilding Together renovates existing homes that are owned by low income, elderly homeowners or low-income disabled homeowners at no cost to the homeowner. In some cities, Rebuilding Together and Habitat For Humanity have partnered together to revitalize entire streets, blocks, and communities by Habitat building new homes on vacant lots and Rebuilding Together renovating existing homes.
Are you affiliated with the Extreme Home Makeover television show?
We are not affiliated with Extreme Home Makeover television show and our renovations focus on meeting the bare essentials for keeping the home safe, secure, and weatherproof. Sears Holdings has recently signed on as a national sponsor of Rebuilding Together and you may see some of our projects that get some airtime on future Extreme Home Makeover shows! HGTV has also recently announced that Rebuilding Together will be its exclusive charitable organization and they have some Rebuild Events around the country scheduled for their network.