Colgate to get a touch of rebuilding
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:21

Applications for program due Dec. 9

by Nicole Rodman

Rebuilding Together Baltimore, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free home repairs to low-income homeowners, is coming to Colgate.
    Founded in 1989 under the name Christmas in April, Rebuilding Together Baltimore (RTB) has spent the last 22 years repairing more than 1,200 homes in more than 30 neighborhoods throughout the city and county.
   

RTB has done similar work in St. Helena and Turner Station in the past.
    Having chosen Colgate as the next focus of their goodwill, the organization will offer no-cost home repairs  to low-income residents during a Rebuilding Day on April 28, 2012.
    According to Michele Hyland of the Colgate Improvement Association, the process began with the completion of the RTB application.
    After reading through the application materials and touring the neighborhood, representatives from RTB announces their selection of the Colgate community last month.
    “We were chosen after filling out an application and touring the neighborhood ....  RTB thought we had a good core group of people willing to do a lot of the community outreach to get the applications, as well as work on neighborhood beautification projects and keep them up,” Hyland explained in an e-mail to The Eagle last week.
    Now that Colgate has been selected to receive assistance from the program, they are in the process of accepting applications from homeowners from around the neighborhood.
    In order to be considered for free home repairs, homeowners must have an annual household income under fifty percent of the area’s average household income.
    For a household of two, this would mean the maxiumum annual income to be eligible for the program would be $33,800.
    For those falling within the program’s income guidelines, applying for free home repairs with RTB is as easy as dialing 410-889-2710.
    Once notified, RTB will send the homeowner an application packet, walking the applicant through the process step-by-step if necessary.
    As Hyland is quick to note, not everyone who fills out an application will be selected; only 20 to 25 houses will be eligible for repairs through the next two years.
    Once the application materials are submitted, eligible homeowners will do a walk-through inspection of the home with RTB representatives.
    Final selection will be made based on which repairs RTB volunteers will be most able to address.
    Once homes are selected for repairs, they will be “adopted out” to local companies looking to make a difference in the community. Each company will select a repair project based on their own set of criteria, such as available volunteers or budget.
    Though most of the repairs will be not be done until Colgate’s Rebuilding Day on April 28, the deadline for applications is quickly approaching. All applications are due in to the Rebuilding Together Baltimore program by Friday, Dec. 9.
    According to Bonnie Bessor, executive director of RTB, Colgate was chosen for the program as a way to revitalize the neighborhood.
    “We recognized a great need among the low-income homeowners in the Colgate community .... We want to help preserve affordable homeownership in the Colgate community and also help to revitalize the community through improving the exterior appearance of homes and implementing community beautification projects,” Bessor noted on Monday.
    As Bessor explained earlier in the week, offering repairs to senior citizen homeowners in the Colgate community is one of the program’s main goals.   
    “Working with seniors has always been at the heart of Rebuilding Together Baltimore’s mission,” Bessor said. “Low-income seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations in our communities.  They are also, in many cases, the folks who have invested the most in our communities over the years. Their presence and homeownership helps to stabilize communities.”
    Citing the importance of helping seniors “age in place,” Bessor noted that the repairs offered by the RTB program “can help homeowners to remain safe and independent in their homes.”
    Eligible homeowners of all ages from the Colgate area are encouraged to apply for the Rebuilding Together Baltimore program by Dec. 9.
    For more information, or to apply, call Rebuilding Together Baltimore at 410-889-2710, email Michele Hyland at
ciasecretary@gmail.com or visit www.rtbaltimore.org.