FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Rebuilding Together?
Rebuilding Together Seattle (formerly Christmas in April* Seattle) is an affiliate of Rebuilding Together U.S.A., the leading national organization that, in partnership with members of the community, rehabilitates the houses of less-advantaged homeowners, particularly the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families with children so they may continue to live in warmth, safety and independence. After months of planning and preparation, Rebuilding Together culminates in a national Rebuilding Day on the last Saturday in April. Volunteers from all ages, faiths, and walks of life come together to help their neighbors in the American barn-raising tradition.
Rebuilding Together USA, the national office, promotes the replication and coordination of Rebuilding Together programs throughout America. Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Washington DC, Rebuilding Together USA provides assistance to affiliates in the areas of program development, board and staff development, marketing, communications and financial management.
What is the national impact of Rebuilding Together?
Operating in more than 865 cities and towns in all 50 states, Rebuilding Together rehabilitated more than 7,800 homes and non-profit facilities in 2000 with the volunteer power of 237,000 men, women and children.
Why are Rebuilding Together services needed?
There are 22 million low-income homeowners in the United States, and that number is expected to increase to more than 28.5 million in the next 10 years. Nearly 10 million of these homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on housing. There are 4.5 million lower-income owners who are elderly people living alone, and 80% of those are women. There are 3.7 million lower-income households with a disabled person; nearly two-thirds of whom are elderly as well. Clearly an enormous segment of the population owns their homes, yet cannot afford to or is physically unable to maintain them. With the population of Americans age 65 and older projected to rise from 33 million in 1995 to 62 million in 2025, these numbers will certainly grow. Rebuilding Together and its network of volunteers fill a desperate need, rehabilitating houses and revitalizing neighborhoods.
Is Rebuilding Together affiliated with a particular church or religion?
No. The program embraces all people: all faiths, walks of life, racial and ethnic groups, ages, sexes, and sexual orientations. Rebuilding Together was formerly called Christmas in April, and the name officially changed to Rebuilding Together in 2001. The spirit of the program is that of giving and sharing, hence the original title "Christmas." The name was conferred by a Midland, Texas homeowner who, in expressing her appreciation for the work done at her house, described it as "Christmas in April!" The concept of community involvement to help one another is a strong part of the organizations culture; hence the new name Rebuilding Together.
Who sponsors Rebuilding Together?
Funds come from corporations, individuals, labor organizations, foundations, civic organizations, and religious institutions interested in helping build a better world. Sponsoring businesses adopt a home by organizing a volunteer team of 25 or more individuals and by contributing a cash donation of $2,500 to $10,000. Though Rebuilding Together Seattle is an affiliate of Rebuilding Together U.S.A., we are solely responsible for our own fundraising, publicity, volunteer recruitment and management.
Anyone can volunteer to help build a better community. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers and other skilled trades people are always in demand for our home-building event in April. Individual volunteers are also needed year around to help in the office, warehouse and in other areas of the program.
How widespread is the Rebuilding Together program?
There are 245 local programs throughout the United States; the vast majority of them are known as "Rebuilding Together", but a few retain the original name of "Christmas" in their title and are "Christmas in October" or "Christmas in July." To date, Rebuilding Together volunteers have repaired more than 63,000 homes and non-profit facilities. In addition, many communities are in the preliminary stages of planning a program.
How extensive are the repairs, and how many homes are affected?
Each year Rebuilding Together Seattle sets a goal of rebuilding 50 sites. In 2001, each Rebuilding Together affiliate across the United States renovated anywhere from one to more than 350 homes and non-profit facilities. In total, 245,000 volunteers repaired 7,800 homes and non-profit facilities. Some organized the work in a one-day blitz, while others opted for two or more consecutive weekends. Skilled trades people join with the unskilled: painting, cleaning, weatherizing and doing carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
How are homeowners selected?
Homeowners must be low-income, elderly, families or disabled and unable to do the work themselves. Referrals typically come from non-profit agencies, churches/synagogues and individuals.
Do the homeowners pay?
All repairs are free for the homeowners. Labor and supplies are donated or purchased by Rebuilding Together Seattle. Homeowners and family members are asked to welcome the volunteers into their homes and work alongside them in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. Our work is done with families and neighborhoods, not for them. Rebuilding Together USA provides a Homeowner Brochure (available in both English and Spanish) to clarify these practices and related expectations.
How can I start a Rebuilding Together program?
Rebuilding Together is a nationally trademarked organization. Anyone interested in organizing a Rebuilding Together home rehabilitation program should contact Rebuilding Together USA to discuss the four-step affiliation process and request further information. A contract binds local communities to the national initiative and allows use of the trademarked name and logo. Rebuilding Together USA provides a Step-by-Step Guide to Rebuilding Together in Your Community (128 pages: $15) and other materials to assist any interested group and also maintains an updated list of Rebuilding Together home rehabilitation locations. Rebuilding Together programs are broad-based community efforts. As Rebuilding Together is a labor-intensive project, founders should have administrative and organizational skills and certainly a clear dedication to the cause. The rewards are multifold.
Is my contribution tax-deductible?
Yes. All contributions are tax-deductible. Contributions can be sent to:
Rebuilding Together Seattle
811 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109
We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you for caring and sharing and helping to build a better world through Rebuilding Together Seattle.