Spring is usually when Rebuilding Together DC- Alexandria is at its most active, with volunteers repairing houses and developments across Alexandria making thousands of dollars worth of repairs for low-income families. But this has been an unusual spring, and it has taken a toll on the operations at the local branch of the nonprofit.
At Rebuilding Together, the big volunteer projects are delayed indefinitely as the non-profit focuses on making emergency repairs.
Normally in April, Rebuilding Together hosts a city-wide day of volunteering to help fix up homes and facilities in need of repair for the city’s low-income residences. With coronavirus keeping groups of more than ten from congregating, those plans have been postponed to Sept. 26.
“Postponing that was out of safety,” Michael Woods, outreach coordinator for Rebuilding Together Alexandria told ALXnow.
Woods also said the organization has tried to keep up with emergency household repairs, like fixing bathrooms and roofing issues. These types of problems, he said, can snowball into larger financial and safety issues if left untreated. But with many other charities addressing immediate needs in Alexandria, the organization has seen a hit in their fundraising.
“We’ve seen a financial impact and it’s severely limited our ability to provide repairs,” Woods said. “While some residents can wait for repair until September, a lot of homeowners cannot.”
Woods said Rebuilding Together has sent licensed contractors, but only to make emergency repairs. There are no ongoing projects with volunteers. Much of the staff at Rebuilding Together are working on check-in calls every week or twice a week to see how homeowners are doing since staff can’t go out and make home assessments.
“Although necessary, social distancing has exacerbated a lot of those problems,” Woods said. “We’re in the process right now of brainstorming ways people can volunteer remotely or volunteer from home. We’re still in the brainstorming process, so there are no specific examples, but we’re looking at ways to keep people involved.”
Donations to Rebuilding Together can be made through the organization’s website. Woods said the non-profit is also currently looking for grant funding to maintain operations through the pandemic.
Photo via Rebuilding Together/Facebook