Constructing Dreams

Hurricane Andrew changed Miami forever, but one silver lining that resulted was the founding of the Miami affiliate of Christmas In April — now called Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade.
Text by Sandy Lindsey Photos courtesy of Rebuilding Together | May 14, 2018 | People

Local organization Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade brings volunteers and communities together to preserve and improve homeownership by providing much-needed repairs to low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners at no cost to the homeowner. “With the help of thousands of skilled and unskilled volunteers, we have rehabbed over 700 homes, including 95 veteran homes, and donated $7.3 million in market value work to the community,” says Program Manager Ashley Snow. “These repairs may include ADA bathroom modifications, painting, safety renovations, roof replacement, plumbing and electrical repairs.” Each April, they participate in National Rebuilding Month, an annual call-to-service culminating on National Rebuilding Day, the last Saturday of the month. Currently, Commissioner Danielle Levine Cava has designated nearly $200,000 in funding to rehabilitate 15 homes in Leisure City. Additionally, they will continue to work with corporate partners including the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, UPS and many others to make critical repairs to homes throughout Miami-Dade County. “We hope to rehabilitate 50 homes in 2017,” reports Snow. They currently have nearly 100 homeowners on their waiting list. The average homeowner is 72 years old; their average income is $17,450; and the average number of years in the home is 32. Even the handiest homeowner has difficulty making repairs at age 72, and with an annual income under $20,000, they simply can’t afford to pay contractors for repairs critical to their safety and health. “Our clients have worked hard their entire lives; they receive pensions and social security, but it’s just not enough,” concludes Snow. “They don’t seek a handout, simply a hand-up — we believe no homeowner should ever have to make the difficult decision between purchasing medications or saving to repair their roof.”;