Olympia Grants $100k to Local Nonprofits Making Home Repairs
The City of Olympia’s Community Block Grant Program gave a $100,000.00 grant to Rebuilding Together Thurston County (RTTC), which is a local branch of the national organization Building Together that serves low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities. It is founded by the Olympia Master Builders Remodeling Council and other community leaders. Each year, Rebuilding Together affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects.
“We provide this assistance to low-income homeowners who live in Thurston County and are disabled, or 62+, or are military veterans or are families with young children,” said RTTC Executive Director Cathy Johnson to the JOLT.
These funds will help RTTC in many ways, including hiring an application coordinator, providing phones to their staff, getting a new office computer, and providing services that they could not previously do. According to Johnson, RTTC currently has 39 projects in Thurston County, WA ranging from wheelchair ramps to smoke detectors, motion lights, plumbing repairs including leaks and new hot water tanks, stair and handrail replacement, furnace repair, and the replacement of water damaged floors.
“Our ‘typical’ homeowner who applies for services is a disabled single woman (either widowed or never married), 65 years of age, lives in a manufactured home in a park, lives on an income of $1,150.00 a month, and pays park rent of $650.00 – leaving just $500.00 to cover all of her living expenses,” said Johnson. “This $500.00 is a very small amount of money to cover food, medical expenses, transportation, etc. so if there are any ‘unexpected’ expenses or repairs needed, there isn’t money to pay for it.” Applicants for RTTC’s services have a median annual income of $14,000.00, according to Johnson.
Rebuilding Together Thurston County assists homeowners in two ways. The Safe At Home Program addresses home modifications for accessibility and safety, such as installing ramps, handrails, and grab bars and emergency repairs that are needed to maintain basic living conditions, such as running water and a working toilet. They also hold Rebuilding Day in May, which takes place annually on the first Saturday (May 7th, 2022), when they provide services such as repairing unsafe flooring, patching siding, or replacing damaged windows and doors. Annually, more than 30,000 volunteers donate approximately 230,000 hours of service to residents in need across the country.
According to their official site, applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for assistance:
- Own and reside in the home needing repair
- The home needing repair must be located within Thurston County
- Be classified as a low-income household, based on HUD guidelines
- Have a disability, be a senior citizen, veteran, and/or a family with young children
- Be unable to complete the work on your own
- Plan to remain in your home for at least the next two years
If you meet the above criteria, please complete an application and return it to Rebuilding Together Thurston County. For more information, contact the RTTC by email at [email protected] or by phone at (360) 539-7830.