Rebuilding Together repairs homes in Richmond

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - A group of Richmond volunteers wants to help the elderly and disabled rehabilitate their older houses.

They're finishing up one project this weekend but there are slots open for April's event and the deadline to sign up is quickly approaching.

Saturday's lucky homeowner described the repairs as an early Christmas present.

You could have that very same feeling this April when Rebuilding Together plans to work on about 50 homes in the Bellemeade and Oak Grove neighborhoods.

You've got just two weeks left to apply.

"I feel like a five-year-old kid at Christmas that just got the first bike on the block," said home repair recipient Deborah Harris.

For Harris, the sounds of working hammers and saws are long overdue.

Harris is legally blind and a dialysis patient.

She says people would be surprised at the tasks that pile up when you're disabled.

"It was doing more damage to my house with the water leaking in and I'm tripping up and down the stairs because I can't see," she said.

Now she's welcoming into her home dozens of strangers with Rebuilding Together to lend many helping hands.

They've put in a new roof and windows, installed lights and a handrail, fixed the heating, they're even gardening and repairing the plumbing.

All free of charge.

"I still get mushy and teary eyed at the fact that it has restored my faith in humanity," said Harris.

More homeowners in this southside neighborhood can benefit from the hard work of volunteers.

To qualify, you must be 55 and older or disabled, have a household income of $25,000 or less, and own and live in the home in the targeted communities.

The organization is hoping to inspire others with its April 24th repair blitz.

"If you look around, these homes are very close together. If one person cleans their yard and picks up and spruces up and tries to take care of things that's typically an impetus for others to do the same," said Rebuilding Together organizer Amy King.

The deadline to apply is November 1st, that's just two weeks away.

You can call 739-3462 or apply online here.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.