Lisa Berglund, a former Rebuilding Together Twin Cities AmeriCorps member and a current PhD student at the University of California at Los Angeles, recently published two articles about low-income homeownership and the effects of deteriorating housing conditions. We wanted to share them with you! Click below to check out Lisa’s work:
Rebuilding Together Twin Cities was incredibly fortunate to have Lisa Berglund and Tyler White serve as AmeriCorps members with us over the last year. Their terms of service ended this month, and we would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication.
Lisa Berglund served as the AmeriCorps Project Coordinator, working alongside our Construction Manager to oversee our Home Repair and Nonprofit Facility projects from start to finish. Lisa is planning to move to Los Angeles where she will pursue a PhD in Urban Planning at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Tyler White served as the AmeriCorps Safe at Home Coordinator and managed all aspects of the Safe at Home program. Tyler has accepted the position of Officer Manager for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities. We are thrilled that he’s going to remain on staff!
Lisa and Tyler have been incredible to work with over the last year. Your hard work, dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm for our mission have proven invaluable. Best of luck with this next chapter of your lives!
Rebuilding Together’s vision is “to provide a safe and healthy home for every person,” which covers some pretty important ground. The work we do with our Safe at Home program allows seniors and individuals living with disabilities to live independently without fear of injury in their home. Similarly, our Home Repair program addresses safety issues like faulty plumbing, damaged stairs or broken windows, to name a few.
One feature of our work that is often overlooked is that in the process of making these critical repairs, we also end up helping homeowners to make some exciting design decisions. Although flooring, wall colors or window styles aren’t a matter of life and death, they can play a big part in creating a home that is unique and comfortable. Several sponsors, including Lowe’s and Valspar, have made it possible for our homeowners to express themselves and their families through cosmetics.
For many homeowners, the initial sight of an entire flooring or paint swatch book presents them with an almost overwhelming number of options. Where to start? What do I want it to look like? How can my home become more “me”? What begins as a challenge usually becomes an empowering exercise with exciting results as a homeowner decides what look really speaks to their personality and brings comfort to their home.
I recall one homeowner that was going to have nearly the entire interior of her home repainted, since the paint on the walls was over 20 years old. When it came time to choose colors, the site of Valpar’s swatch book with over a thousand colors almost seemed to bring on panic! Realizing that she needed a little bit more time to feel comfortable with her decisions, our Construction Supervisor Dave suggested that we leave the book with her overnight. When we got to the office the next morning, there was an energetic voicemail from her with a list of all the colors she wanted and where they would go. The colors were ordered and a group of volunteers painted them on her walls. At the end of the day, her home was filled with bright colors and a proud homeowner. Instances where choosing new tiles or a new wall color have completely changed the way a homeowner feels in their home are truly countless.
As a source of consistency and comfort, the home and its condition can be very influential on the lives of those within it. The ability to make decisions about how it looks or feels is one of Rebuilding Together’s greatest gifts, its effects reaching far beyond aesthetics. These choices allow homeowners to feel pride in their space and claim ownership through self-expression. One homeowner that we helped who had inherited the home he grew up in said: “When the outside was painted, that wasn’t my parents’ choice. That wasn’t their color. So now it feels like my decision. It feels like my personality. My color…You know, it feels like me now.”
By Lisa Berglund, AmeriCorps Project Coordinator
We are proud to welcome three new AmeriCorps members to the Rebuilding Together Twin Cities team: Lisa Berglund, Alex Rosselli and Tyler White.
Lisa, AmeriCorps Project Coordinator, will be responsible for managing our home repair projects from start to finish, including previewing the home, developing a workscope, creating a budget, identifying volunteer and material resources needed to complete the home repairs, and supervising the work. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan and recently received a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Design from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. She has also held several internships and has volunteered for various organizations.
Alex, AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator, will be responsible for recruiting, training, coordinating and retaining volunteers to provide critical home repairs for the homeowners we serve. Alex recently received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Macalester College in St. Paul. He has worked on several political campaigns and has experience recruiting and supervising volunteers. Alex is passionate about affordable housing, education and economic development.
Tyler, AmeriCorps Safe at Home Coordinator, will be responsible for managing all aspects of our Safe at Home program. Tyler recently received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Maine. While earning his degree, Tyler worked for the Home Depot, gaining valuable experience and knowledge about home repair and construction. Tyler also has experience both as a volunteer and an intern for various nonprofit organizations.
Rebuilding Together, Inc. currently has 66 AmeriCorps members serving in 30 Rebuilding Together Affiliates in 20 states. The goal of the CapacityCorps program is to build the capacity of grassroots Rebuilding Together programs so they can be more sustainable, effective, and efficient in helping homeowners in need. This is the fourth year that Rebuilding Together has been awarded an AmeriCorps grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service.