THE ACCA REBUILDING TOGETHER PROGRAM
The national Christmas in April program began in Midland, Texas in 1983 when a group of people joined together to repair the home of an elderly neighbor. The idea has since spread to all 50 states and is an annual event on the last Saturday of April. In 2002, the name of the program was changed to Rebuilding Together to better reflect the housing rehabilitation mission.
ACCA first became involved with the program in 1990 when a group of about 25 volunteers from 5 churches repaired one home. Since then, ACCA volunteers have repaired 117 homes, raised over $162,000 and provided more than 33,000 hours of volunteer service.
The Rebuilding Together program is held each year on the last Saturday in April from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Recruitment and fund raising begin the previous fall. The work consists of repair of owner-occupied homes of low-income individuals and families, primarily the elderly and disabled, and group homes. Over 70% of the homes ACCA has repaired have had at least one disabled person. The average age of the homeowners is 69.
The income criterion for eligibility is roughly $28,200 for a one-person household and $32,000 for a two-person household.
Volunteers in the program paint, do carpentry, electrical work, yard work, and a variety of minor repairs. We also need people to provide lunch for the volunteers and to serve as go-fers for the house captains. The skill levels and number of volunteers required vary with the work to be done on a given house. The average house crew is about 20.
Churches participate in the ACCA Rebuilding Together program in a variety of ways, from completely funding a house ($3,500 per house) and providing a work crew to providing some funds and/or some volunteers. Some churches set aside funds in their budget annually while others hold fundraisers. Some make this an event for their church while others work with other churches on a house.Volunteers are usually 16 and older, but 14-16 year olds can participate with parental consent and on-site parental supervision.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Marie Monsen at firstname.lastname@example.org. To nominate a house for repair, call Patti Klein at Rebuilding Together of Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church at 703-528-1999.