Group searches for low-income homeowners for home repairs

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 7, 2018

SOUTHFIELD — Trying to make home improvements on a fixed income can be a difficult task. 

That’s why volunteers from Rebuilding Together Oakland County are on the hunt for Southfield residents to receive no-cost improvements. 

The group’s biggest event of the year, National Rebuild Day, is coming up on April 28, and volunteers said they are looking for income-eligible homeowners in need of safety repairs to their homes.

The organization, a nonprofit providing free home repairs to county residents, is one of 150 affiliates of the national Rebuilding Together organization. 

Naomi Coleman, outreach coordinator for Rebuilding Together Oakland County, said the organization puts together teams of volunteers to make repairs at several homes across the county on National Rebuild Day. 

The repairs range from big to small, Coleman said. 

“We help out with what they call ‘safe and healthy housing’ — we’ll do home repairs that will include things like installing ramps, fixing up, removing carpeting and replacing (it) with new flooring,” Coleman said. “Maybe now and then we’ll help with new window replacement and roof replacement.”

Southfield homeowner Geraldine Link said she was a recipient of the group’s services last year. 

Link said a group of spirited volunteers came to her home and performed a slew of improvements, including a new roof, new flooring, and new doors and windows, as well as painting and yardwork.

“It’s minor stuff, but it was major to me. I never thought in my lifetime I would be able to afford any windows, so it was a big help,” Link said. 

Link said a crew from Rebuilding Together Oakland County went out to her home before National Rebuild Day to see what needed to be done. 

“I had my roof done before, and whoever did it put the vent in wrong, so (Rebuilding Together Oakland County) went up there and they said there was mold growing, so they helped me fix that,” she said. “They did a lot of nice things, so when I come in the house now I feel really good.”

Coleman also said the organization is on the hunt for volunteers ready to work April 28. The only stipulation is that volunteers be 12 or older. 

“We get a lot of different age groups of volunteers who are skilled and unskilled. Sometimes we have professionals come out and volunteer their services, and we have hobbyists and regular people who want to help,” she said. “Sometimes people will bring their own tools, but for the most part we have the materials ready for everybody when the project starts.”

Rebuilding Together Oakland County is currently accepting applications from low-income homeowners. To qualify, applicants must own their home, and they must be current on mortgage payments, homeowners insurance and property taxes. 

To learn more about Rebuilding Together Oakland County, to volunteer or to request an application, go to rebuildingtogetheroak
landcounty.org or call (248) 432-6551. 

“It’s amazing. You come in the house and you can feel the difference in the heating and everything. There was a lot of air coming in in the wintertime, and I don’t have that now,” Link said.