Alexandria Column: Heroes at Home

Alexandria Column: Heroes at Home

Commentary–Rebuilding Together Alexandria

Volunteers for a previous National Rebuilding Day.

Volunteers for a previous National Rebuilding Day.

Heroes are people we hold in high regard. Those who serve and protect our nation are among these heroes. At Rebuilding Together, we have the privilege of helping people maintain and repair their homes — many of whom are veterans.

During National Rebuilding Day on April 30, Rebuilding Together volunteers across the nation will be making neighborhoods stronger by repairing and restoring homes for low-income and struggling homeowners.

A special focus for this national day of service is Heroes at Home, a collaboration between Rebuilding Together and Sears, a program to improve the lives of veterans and their families through extensive home renovations. Already through this effort, Rebuilding Together affiliates have helped nearly 2,000 veteran homeowners by helping make veterans and their families’ homes safe and healthy.

Locally, Sears will be joining with Rebuilding Together Alexandria to provide free repairs at the home of Seymore*, an Army veteran and grandfather who would like to remain living in his long-time home where he is raising two young grandchildren. Seymore receives dialysis and walks with a cane, and his poor health and limited income prevent him from maintaining his home. But he knows that having a stable environment for his grandchildren is important to their future success.

Research supports this too. According to a white paper by National Association of Realtors, homeownership and stable housing “go hand-in-hand [as] homeowners move far less frequently than renters, and hence are embedded into the same neighborhood and community for a longer period.” The paper also pointed out that homeowners have a “significant effect on their children’s success,” including keeping teenagers in school and helping younger kids perform better in math and reading and experience fewer behavioral problems.

That’s why helping Seymore is so important. During National Rebuilding Day, volunteers will be doing significant roof work due to an active leak, repairing and replacing handrails on two porches and wooden window trim, patching drywall in ceilings, repairing light fixtures, and more, ensuring his home is a safe place to raise his family.

In addition to Seymore’s home, our 800 volunteers will spread out around the city and help other neighbors with repairs and upgrades to their homes. In all, we expect to perform repairs on 60 Alexandria homes.

It’s an important way we as neighbors can help each other while revitalizing our community and preserving affordable housing.

It’s also a way we can honor those like Seymore who have served us. If you know of any other heroes who want to stay home, contact us at 703-836-1021.

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