Established in 1994, Rebuilding Together Hartford, Inc. is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, volunteer organization that is dedicated to helping low-income homeowners through home renovation and repair. The local organization is part of a national Rebuilding Together effort that began in 1973 in Midland, Texas, when volunteers joined together to rehabilitate a home for their elderly neighbor. The grateful neighbor declared that the level of giving and warmth extended to her that day was “just like Christmas.”
Today, there are more than 200 Rebuilding Together affiliates throughout the country.
Many Hartford residents have worked their entire lives and have been physically and financially able to maintain their homes in good condition. However, as people age, falls, injuries, and greater health problems take their toll. As a result, society pays a price in hospitalization, elder care, and—most distressing—in homelessness. Due to illness, the loss of a spouse, aging, and economic hardships, some residents are unable to repair their homes themselves, and the buildings deteriorate, or become unsafe.
On the last Saturday in April, Rebuilding Together Hartford’s mission and vision is realized when skilled and unskilled volunteers join together in a unique, one-day event that is reminiscent of the barn-raising tradition of America’s past. Since the first Rebuilding Day in 1996, Rebuilding Together Hartford has organized the work of more than 5,000 volunteers, and those volunteers have repaired and revitalized more than 350 local homes and completed several community improvement projects. The estimated market value of this work exceeds $1.5 million.
Homeowners are identified by referrals from other nonprofit agencies, neighborhood revitalization zones, government agencies, social service organizations, churches, synagogues, and private individuals. Applicants are screened for eligibility based on need and income. The elderly, disabled, and families with children are the organization’s first priority.