'Rebuilding Together' selects 21 homes for spring repairs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- This year, Rebuilding Together St. Joseph County celebrates 35 years of giving back to the community.

The program helps elderly, disabled, veteran and low-income residents sustain and maintain their homes.

Also this year, Rebuilding Together selected 21 qualifying homes on the South Side of South Bend to receive $200,000 of home repairs. This also includes a community center at Broadway Christian Parish on Carroll Street.

One homeowner selected for home repairs this Spring is Frankie Davis.

“I moved here in 1974," she said. "I’m 83 years old.”

Davis has lived in her South Bend home for nearly 50 years and has no plans to leave. But at her age, and with her limited income, she can’t keep up with her home maintenance, such as her moss-covered roof.

“I knew that sooner or later I was going to need a roof... it's over 20 years old," she said. "My furnace is on its last legs.”

But her repairs, along with the 20 other homes this year, will be made free to the homeowner.

“When we rehab their home, it helps brighten up the neighborhood, it helps kind of encourage other neighbors to come out and work on their homes, and more importantly, it just allows individuals to stay in their home,” said Andre Waddell, board chairman of Rebuilding Together.

Waddell reported 45,000 volunteer hours and about $12,000,000 of work in the community over their 35-year history.

“Sometimes, the repairs become overwhelming, and they can’t afford them. They’re very pricey; we’ve seen the price of home repairs go up," Waddell said. "So, by these volunteer hours, and the donations we receive, we come out and we do the work for them.”

The program survives through partnerships with local trades unions, volunteers, and the City of South Bend.

“There was an initiative in the previous administration, the ‘Thousand Houses in a Thousand Days,’ which was vacant and abandoned homes that had... many of them had to be torn down because they went into such a state of disrepair," South Bend Mayor James Mueller said. "We’ve got great, old housing stock here in South Bend, and we want to preserve as much of it as possible. And that’s great for the whole neighborhood, the entire community as well.”

And Frankie Davis is overwhelmed with gratitude, saying she was in tears when she learned she was selected for this year's Rebuilding Together program, along with 20 other houses.

“That’s what’s exciting, they’re doing so many other houses," she said. "So, I’m quite sure all the other homeowners feel just like I do.”

Rebuilding Together estimates they’ll need 800 volunteers this year!

There are two dates to keep in mind if you want to get involved: Saturday, April 13 is Skilled Trades Day and Saturday, April 27 is Community Volunteer Day.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Share this article: