Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay (RTTB) is looking to respond to the need for residential housing rehabilitation programs in the Tampa Bay region, improving living conditions for local low-income families.
Receiving a $300,000 grant from Wells Fargo
to improve homes in Tampa Heights, the program has been helping 12 homeowners update their homes. Partnering with the United Way Suncoast
and City of St. Pete
, many more home improvement projects are planned for the Heights area, as well as St. Petersburg's Campbell Park; Campbell Park is part of RTTB's Healthy Homes and Neighborhood program
“There are many homeowners in need of our services and not enough nonprofits providing help to low-income homeowners to keep their homes safer, healthier and more energy efficient,” says RTTB
Executive Director Jose Garcia. “Because of the economic downtown, low-income homeowners can no longer afford expenses to keep their homes maintained. Sometimes, it comes down to choosing between paying for food or medicine instead of replacing a roof or HVAC.”
Spending an average of $15,000 in construction costs, RTTB works to provide new roofing, HVAC, window replacements, bathroom renovations and lead paint repairs, if needed. Volunteerism through the program is encouraged, assisting with exterior painting, landscaping and yard cleanup.
On April 13th, RTTB
hosted a Kick-Off to Rebuild Day Event, installing ramps and handrails and updating plumbing and interior and exterior painting for 80-year-old Campbell Park homeowner Elizabeth Chambliss; Chambliss, a veteran's widow, has been living in the area for more than 45 years.
In partnership with RTTB and United Way, volunteers from Honeywell
assisted on-site to complete much of the repairs needed in Chambliss' home.
“We look for the most essential home repairs when we help a homeowner -- the needs of every home are not the same,” Garcia says. “We want to provide services that will make the home a safe and healthy place to live.”
April marks National Rebuild Month for Rebuilding Together affiliates nationwide and National Volunteer Month for the United Way with RTTB hosting an official Rebuild Day
on April 27th, gathering volunteers from the United Way Suncoast and officials from the City of St. Pete to work on home repairs to four homes in the Campbell Park area of Pinellas County.
Plans to update homes in Hillsborough County are also underway.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Jose Garcia, Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay