SOUTH SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The importance of community is hammered home at a small worksite in South Saint Paul. "They're fast, they're a quick team. They just showed up here yesterday and they're going to finish this project today," remarked Gregory Corey. He and his wife, Margaret, watched in awe as a team of volunteers revamped their home's ramp. It's a necessity for Margaret who has MS, also known as multiple sclerosis. "We've had another ramp that we've had for 20 years and it's deteriorated. And now, this new ramp is really helping us out," said Mr. Corey.
The ramp is courtesy of the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and a force of community members looking to make a difference. "Our typical volunteers come from all walks of life. So this group is a group of retired gentlemen, that again, they're used to working with each other, coming as a group," explained Kathy Greiner, the nonprofit's executive director. She was on site lending a hand.
Rebuilding Together Twin Cities revitalizes homes for older adults, military veterans and low-income residents. "Rebuilding Together will look at everything in the home, from the roof, to the windows, to preventing water from entering the basement," said Greiner.
If the inside needs help, Greiner says the workers make modifications like adding grab bars in the bathroom or railing on a stairway. "We're basically wanting to make sure that the families that live in homes are staying safe and warm," she said. And the nonprofit allows residents to help maintain independence in homes they already own.
Rebuilding Together Twin Cities is branching out. According to the nonprofit, it has secured $275,000 in grants to establish its first greater Minnesota office. Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Housing Assistance Council will be directed to improve homes in Cottonwood, Jackson and Nobles counties. The nonprofit is currently seeking to hire a full-time manager to oversee its ongoing work in the area.
Applications are now being accepted for home improvement and accessibility modification projects. To apply for assistance, visit their web site here.