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Column: Enabling Resident To Stay in Her Home

Dorothy* and her husband moved into their Alexandria home when her son was just three months old — that was nearly 50 years ago. And although the neighborhood has gone through many changes over the years, Dorothy, born and raised in Alexandria, is here to stay. Her siblings, two sisters and a brother, keep her here, too!

The neighborhood was much smaller when Dorothy and her family first moved in. There was a piper cub airport operating small aircraft nearby but at only $9,000, the house was not to be passed up. And though the airport has long since given way to residential buildings, Dorothy loves that today there is a nature center only five blocks away.

Four years ago, her husband passed away, making it difficult for Dorothy to maintain her home. She reached out to Rebuilding Together Alexandria and its teams of volunteers to help her stay in her home, safely. This month, a group of Skanska employees will install smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher, repair kitchen cabinets, build a walkway, repair her shed, add a doorbell, and repair tiles in the kitchen and bathroom as part of National Rebuilding Day.

Dorothy’s situation is not uncommon. The affordable housing squeeze that many of our neighbors feel also impacts long-time homeowners who can’t afford to move but have difficulty affording to stay as well. Helping these homeowners remain in their homes is important to strengthening our community and preserving affordable housing.

As more low-income homeowners struggle to maintain their homes, Rebuilding Together Alexandria’s work to repair and revitalize homes at no charge for homeowners in need, including elderly, disabled, military veterans and families, is more important than ever. Our efforts over the past quarter century have helped more than 1,400 families in Alexandria and added $5.5 million worth of value to their homes through in-kind donations of labor and materials.

For Dorothy, our volunteers’ efforts mean that she doesn’t have to make tough choices about paying for medicine or food or home maintenance. Instead, she can continue to stay in her home, relax in her living room, and continue to watch the small neighborhood of wildlife around her — fox, deer, raccoon, and even a turkey.

If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit www.rebuildingtogetheralex.org or call 703-836-1021.

  • It is Rebuilding Together Alexandria’s policy to not disclose full names.