Rejuvenating Homes Together
Left to Right: Mayor McGarvey, Lorianne Ulm, Lexi Hansen (with paint brush), Diane and Patrick Crocker (front), Jason Theriault (far right)
Volunteers from the Rebuilding Together program painting houses in Rancho Cordova.
Community Enhancement Fund Organizes Rebuilding Together
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Volunteers arrived as early as 7 a.m. Saturday morning to help repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate thirteen houses in Aspen Creek, Cordova Lane, and Walnutwood neighborhoods. Rebuilding Together, volunteers from Teichert, and others took up paint brushes, hammers, screwdrivers, and other tools to perform tasks that included tree trimming, completely renovating a bathroom, electrical work, fence replacement, and painting.
Patrick and Diane Crocker have lived in their home for half a century, raised their three children, and collected a lot of treasures throughout the years. On Friday, volunteers arrived to clear the garage.
Like many homeowners, Patrick and Diane were not sure what to think when City of Rancho Cordova Community Engagement Assistant Matt Buland approached them and started talking about the program which fixes up houses free of charge to the homeowners. With so many scams being played out in neighborhoods across the nation, there were many doubters.
“What can I lose?” Patrick accepted the application from Buland, completed it, listed everything he and Diane would like to have done, which included fence replacement, and submitted it.
The Crocker’s application was one of 65 received from residents in the three neighborhoods.
“Getting the applicants is the hardest part,” said Community Engagement/Volunteer Coordinator Lorianne Ulm.
Homeowners, she said, think it may be too good to be true. Letters are mailed to every homeowner within the neighborhood, notices are posted in newsletters and on Nextdoor, and people like Buland canvas each house, sometimes returning at different times or on different days in hopes of contacting the homeowner.
Buland, a personable fellow who Patrick spoke highly of, was hired in November. His approach was simple – walk the neighborhood and start a conversation.
“It feels really good,” he said. “I get used to ‘no.’”
He reached over 100 homeowners, spoke to about 30 percent. About half were “kind of interested,” and one third of those he felt would follow through.
It is, he added, an opportunity for him to meet new folks, learn more about the neighborhoods, and “help citizens be more active” in their community.
Several neighbors came out to see the work being done at the Crocker house and chatted with city staff, perhaps considering what they might need done when the applications open again.
The program is funded through both a $150,000 grant from the Community Enhancement Fund and Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization whose roots date back to 1973 when a group of neighbors banded together to fix up homes in their neighborhood. More than 6,700 Sacramento county homes have been serviced since 1991.
“This was our fifth Rebuild Event,” wrote Rebuilding Together’s Executive Director Carrie Grip, in an email, referring to rebuilds in Rancho Cordova. “65 homes were homes improved during the Rebuild Events with Community Enhancement Funds. We have provided home safety and minor energy services in over 140 additional homes in Rancho Cordova over the years.”
Applications are forwarded to Sandy Econome, Program Manager – Rebuild Day Events at Rebuilding Together for review. She checks the requests to see what both skilled and unskilled volunteers can do and what can be done in one day.
“We focus on health and safety issues,” she said, as well as curb appeal.
The Crocker home required new paint, downspout work, a garage makeover which will include new shelving and bins, electrical work, and a brand new fence.
“Neighbors get a benefit, too,” said Jason Theriault, Teichert estimator by day and site house captain for the Crocker house rebuild.
Many Teichert employees from all areas and with various skill sets once again showed up to help in the community.
Jud Riggs, Teichert’s CEO by day, was a laborer on Saturday.
“We should be serving,” he said, adding that his volunteer employees are “eager to come and help.” He referred to the opportunity to team build and the firm’s core value of giving back.
“We’re putting feet to that belief.”
“Teichert has been a great supporter,” said Rebuilding Together’s Econome, adding that this is the third year they came for a Friday preparation day to lighten the load for Saturday’s heavy work. The number grows each year, she said.
“This year we had 100!”
Rebuilding Together supplies tools, including a brand new auger it purchased this year.
“Republic donated all the dumpsters for the event,” she said.
The plan is for the program to be non-invasive. Volunteers enter the home only if there is work to be done inside.
The goal is for the volunteers to do all of the work, but if the homeowner can physically participate, they are invited to do so. If not, they are encouraged to chat with the volunteers.
The rebuild day takes place each April as part of National Rebuilding Month and is one of several programs Rebuilding Together offers. More than 25 organizations, including banks, SMUD, realtor associations, construction, and engineering firms also contributed to the rebuild event.
“This is a blessing,” said Patrick and Diane Crocker, who look forward to many more years in their home.
For additional information, visit: https://www.cityofranchocordova.org/departments/communications-and-public-affairs/community-engagement/beautification-projects. To learn more about Rebuilding Together, visit http://rebuildingtogethersacramento.org/