| What We Do |
"They painted every stroke as if they were painting their own home."
Homeowner Anita Dussinger
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The mission of Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is to bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of homeowners in need.
The RTP Board adopted a vision — A Safe and Healthy Home for Every Person as well as core values, which are shared across the RT affiliate network.
THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF OUR PROJECTS
The U.S. census indicates that there are more than 60,000 low-income homeowners in Philadelphia. The need is great, but together we can make a difference! We conduct Rebuilding Days – volunteer work days – throughout the year, concentrating them in a short time period and in a neighborhood (often a single block) through Block Builds so that we can revitalize communities as well as help individual homeowners and families.
Each year, 1,000-1,500 skilled and general volunteers help the low-income homeowners who are most in need:
- Older adults
- People living with disabilities
- Multi-generational families
- Veterans of the armed forces
Many low-income Philadelphians live in homes that were built more than 70 years ago. Simple repair problems left unattended due to lack of resources escalate in to larger problems. To restore value to homes and elevate quality of life, RTP volunteers work alongside homeowners and their families to make essential home repairs ranging from carpentry, plumbing, and electrical to painting and reorganizing.
Integral to critical repairs are energy-efficient upgrades. Weatherization always has been central to RTP's home repair projects, and new energy efficient products and processes enable RTP to take more steps to ensure that homeowners have what they need to be as energy efficient as possible. This includes providing a houseful of CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) to homeowners and ensuring that every homeowner has a functioning heater and a sound roof. Homeowners can save on monthly utility bills, freeing up their limited disposable income for other basic needs.
Safe at Home Projects
Home modifications for older adults and people with disabilities are priorities, and have become a routine component of our work scopes. Volunteer Occupational Therapists have been instrumental in helping RTP develop a sophisticated process for assessing and improving the safety of the home. By adapting living spaces, volunteers help homeowners remain as mobile and independent as possible. They focus on installing grab bars, railings, levered doorknobs, and wheelchair ramps. Worn stairs and floors are repaired. They install security doors and windows where needed and provide smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to help prevent fires. Subtle hazards such as a misplaced extension cord or throw rug are identified and eliminated, reducing the chance of falls – the leading cause of injury in the home.
Healthy Homes Projects
RTP volunteers address indoor environmental health issues such as lead paint, radon, asthma triggers and household hazards. Many RTP homeowners need exhaust fans, proper ventilation, mold elimination, and pest management and help understanding the health and safety implications of the types of repairs made. Using a “Healthy Homes Checklist” developed by the National Center for Healthy Housing a RTP team completes its project with the confidence that it has left the homeowner/family in the best position to live healthy going forward.
Exterior work to homes, street beautification, and stormwater management projects are central to RTP's work to revitalize communities. Streetscaping, community greening and lot clean ups are opportunities for large groups of volunteers to see tangible progress at the end of a day. Block residents love the visual transformation, and often take on the responsibility for ongoing street maintenance after the Build. Downspout planters add to the block's aesthetics as well as help mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff due to heavy rainstorms.
RTP's Geographic Focus
Initially, RTP focused on West Philadelphia, but quickly expanded operations to serve homeowners in North Philadelphia. Throughout its 24-year existence RTP volunteers also have reached into Germantown; South Philadelphia; the Frankford section of the City; Coatesville in Chester County; Chester in Delaware County; and Norristown, Glenside, and Roslyn in Montgomery County.
RTP's Cumulative Statistics
RTP volunteers have achieved the following milestones through June 2012:
- 1,127 homeowners served
- 52 community agencies served
- 26 vacant lots and parks restored
- 29,057 volunteers enlisted
- 437,376 volunteer hours contributed
- $24,463,085 worth of repairs provided