Partnership with Sears Focuses on Helping Veterans in our Community

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities recently partnered with the Sears Heroes at Home program to make repairs and improvements to a Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) home in Minneapolis.  MACV provides transitional housing and services to homeless veterans, and the home we worked on provides transitional housing for several veterans.

On September 17th, more than 20 volunteers from the Honeywell Retired Volunteers Program (HRVP) added a bedroom to the basement of the home in order to increase the number of veterans who can live there.  HRVP volunteers added an egress window, constructed a wall and ceiling, installed a new refrigerator and backsplash in the kitchen, and installed a new shower kit and trim around the shower in the bathroom on the main floor of the home.

Sears generously provided the funding for this project, and Heroes at Home projects were completed in more than 60 cities across the country.  We thank Sears and HRVP for partnering with us to help more veterans in our community!

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Partners with Two Local Companies

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities recently partnered with the Mosaic Company and GLS Companies to provide critical home repairs for two North Minneapolis homeowners.

On September 23rd, volunteers from the Mosaic Company descended on the home of Harry, who has lived in his home in the Willard-Hay neighborhood of Minneapolis for nearly 20 years.  Harry is a retired athletic equipment manager from the University of Minnesota, and he suffered a serious heart attack in 2009.  Volunteers painted the interior and exterior of the home, repaired cracks in the foundation, replaced the front door, repaired the plumbing and made other repairs to the home.  The sponsorship from the Mosaic Company will also cover the cost to replace the roof, and Standard Heating and Air Conditioning donated a new furnace.

Volunteers from GLS Companies repaired the home of Annette on September 24th.  Annette has lived in her North Minneapolis home for more than 30 years, and she is partially disabled due to a back injury.  Volunteers painted the interior of the home, re-graded to improve water drainage, replaced a hazardous walkway with pavers, and repaired and painted the deck.

This is the fourth year in a row that Rebuilding Together Twin Cities has partnered with the Mosaic Company and the first collaboration with GLS Companies.  We thank both companies for their commitment to helping homeowners in need live independently in homes that are safe and warm!

A Homeowner’s Story

Last month, I met a homeowner with a truly special and remarkable story.

I arrived at the home only aware of the homeowner’s basic information and what home safety and accessibility modifications we planned to perform to accommodate a warm, safe and independent lifestyle. I was not there to perform the preview for this project, so learning about the unfortunate disadvantage this man was living with that day left me in shock and wonder.

John was an All-American track athlete.  He was featured and covered in popular running-based magazines and maintained a vigorous exercise regimen for most of his life. John excelled nationally from the time he arrived at Washburn High and graduated from college at the University of Minnesota in the long jump, hurdles, shot put, high jump and 1,000 meter run. He loved surfing along the shores of the California coast as a young adult and was fond of woodcarving. John was an outstanding and devoted competitor who would surely live an independent and healthy life.

We sometimes forget that life can change in a single moment.

On February 13, 2008, John was found on the track of the University of Minnesota’s Field House laying face down. Bystanders rushed over to help him as they immediately called 9-1-1. John was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance where both his health and fate were unknown.

After four and a half days in a coma, John was diagnosed with having a heart attack. Even after months of rehabilitation, John remained in a state where he would live a complicated independent life, if he chose to live that way. With limited walking mobility, a distinguishable speech adaptation, diminished hearkening ability, and restricted use of his hands, John chose to stay in his home.

John was born in his house in South Minneapolis, and at 61, John had spent his entire life in that home. Although his pride of being a homeowner never diminished, his ability to maintain his home did. On September 15th, we installed handrails going to the basement and second floor, grab bars in the bathroom and handles along doorways through our Safe at Home program so that John could live a safer and more independent life. John is now being considered for our Home Repair program, which would provide additional improvements and modifications to his home.

John’s story is a reminder that life is precious and can change suddenly. More importantly, John’s life is a valuable lesson that we are not defined by the obstacles we are confronted with, but how we choose to overcome them.

Written by: Tyler White, Safe at Home Coordinator

CB Richard Ellis Revitalizes Full Cycle Bicycle Shop

More than 80 volunteers from CB Richard Ellis joined us to make improvements to the Pillsbury United Communities Full Cycle Bicycle Shop in South Minneapolis on September 20th.  The Shop provides internship opportunities for homeless and street-dependent youth to gain the skills and confidence they need to become independent.  Volunteers spent the day building and painting work benches, creating a green space in the back for the interns to take a break and eat lunch, painting the interior of the shop and office, and building a bin for recycling tires.  Council Member Elizabeth Glidden and Rebecca Lucero, a representative from Congressman Keith Ellison’s office, also stopped by to visit with volunteers and tour the project.

Matt Tennant, founder and Director of Full Cycle, thanked the CB Richard Ellis team and Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, writing “What an amazing day!  I can’t thank you guys enough for what you were able to do to help us out at Full Cycle.  Our staff and the young folks we work with are very proud of that space and the awesome work and relationships that happen there.  We all thank you for making it better!”

This project was part of CBRE Cares, a national corporate philanthropy program, and more than 20 CB Richard Ellis offices nationwide participated in rebuilding projects last month.  Thank you to CB Richard Ellis for partnering with us on this project!