Letter from the Executive Director:
Housing Conditions and the Novel Coronavirus Have a Lot in Common
Dear [Re]builders,

Over the last few weeks many of us, even with our phones, video conferencing, internet, and entertainments, have come to know what social distancing and quarantining feels like. We alternate between pacing the rooms, trying to pick up or clean a little while listening on a call, to collapsing on the couch, sinking into a lethargic and numb state of disbelief. There seems to be no end in sight, no meaningful recourse we can personally take to improve the situation, and limited places or people to turn to if we need a hand. We worry, fixated on the future, while locked in a cycle of day-to-day existence.

But while we all may now understand what voluntary social distancing and legally mandated shelter-in-place means, what we haven’t truly experienced is the type of isolation that so many of the neighbors in need that Rebuilding Together reaches have experienced for years. I’m talking about the type of isolation that comes from being physically, mentally, socially, and financially debilitated. Isolation because you use a wheelchair and there’s no ramp for you to be able to independently get out of your house. Isolation because your community has been displaced, where your neighbors are no longer close friends and where the neighborhood businesses you relied on are no longer there. Isolation from your friends and family living far away, or worse, not living any more at all. Where you watch Judge Judy every afternoon, not because you love the show, but because it’s some of the only free entertainment you have access to.

I can barely comprehend what it must take simply to stay healthy living below the poverty line, but then to worry about the roof over your head, literally. Even the stress and dangers from relatively minor home safety improvement and repair needs must feel as overwhelming as many of us now feel, worrying about whether tomorrow will bring sickness or injury to you or someone you love. Our neighbors in need have known this “new reality” for years. It’s no wonder that they often share having felt hopeless.

Imagine though, if you suddenly learned today, there was an organization just a phone call away that could help you keep healthy and safe, that could restore some hope, that could remind everyone of the dignity of your life, and that could bring (virus-free) caring people together to rebuild in the midst of this disaster. That is the shining light at the end of their isolation that so many of our neighbors in need see when they learn about Rebuilding Together. And while we might not be very good at combating a global viral pandemic, we are pretty darn good at facing a local residential epidemic!

It probably comes as no surprise that the same households who are at higher risk during this novel coronavirus pandemic are the same vulnerable populations that we are serving. Seems reasonable to suppose since, like viruses, housing conditions don’t discriminate, they just affect certain populations more: people with pre-existing conditions, older adults, the poor, etc. At a time when a crisis requires them to remain at home, another crisis is making that even more dangerous. And let’s be clear, with more than 76,000 people “infected” with the deadly combination of poverty and substandard housing, our work isn’t about repairing houses or making accessibility modifications, it’s about addressing a public health crisis! 

What’s starkly different about this pandemic and our housing crisis though, despite suffering from many of the same aggravating factors – failure to take seriously and recognize as a dangerous contagion for all, lack of preparedness, shortage of supplies and resources, and a sometimes callous disregard for people versus economics – is that the housing crisis is almost entirely of our own making. Which means though, that we also have the treatments by which to recover: to repair homes, revitalize communities, and rebuild lives. So let’s prepare now to improve housing conditions for our most vulnerable neighbors with renewed vigor!

We need your help to be ready to respond when restrictions are lifted, especially with financial support now while our program and fundraising events are suspended; we still have applications to intake, projects to line up, grants to write, events to plan, and all the other operational workings that have to continue on. Below is a brief update on the current suspension of our program activities, including our National Rebuilding Month program, but in addition, we are canceling our May 15 th Safe and Healthy Homes Breakfast. Those of you who have attended in the past know that the breakfast raises more than two-thirds of our funding for the Safe at Home program, engaging individual skilled volunteers and small groups in repair projects ranging from routine maintenance to critical home safety improvements such as restoring functional appliances, water, or heating systems; eliminating electrical hazards; or preventing fall injuries, for example.
There are lots of ways to stay engaged with us right now, but we hope you will consider a donation to help fund this year-round program, that relies on 90% of its funding from individual donors like you. You can make a donation online via a secure link on our website, through PayPal, or, save the processing fees and mail us a check to the office. 
We look forward to reopening our programs, hosting Open Volunteer Days, holding our 30 th annual National Rebuilding Day, seeing you at our Beer & Wine Tasting, and continuing on with the many other plans we had…just a little later. Until then though, stay well, stay safe, stay away from others, and stay ready to [Re]cover the distance, together!



National Rebuilding Month: POSTPONED
Due to the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution, our National Rebuilding Month (NRM), originally slated for April, has been postponed and National Rebuilding Day has tentatively been rescheduled for Saturday, September 12. Our decision to postpone NRM also extends to our other community and group events involving 10 or more people throughout April, following CDC and Public Health Seattle & King County guidelines.

While we will still carry out limited projects for certain lower risk neighbors and/or those with critical, life-threatening needs, full program activities will not resume until public health recommendations provide a pathway to safely proceed. In the meantime, if you would like to be contacted about volunteering later this year, or if your company or group is interested in supporting our program work, please contact Wynne Lee at for information on individual volunteering, or Caleb Marshall at for funding partnership and group participation opportunities.

For our most up-to-date programs status, please visit our website. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks, and get ready to join us for National Rebuilding Day 2020 on Saturday, September 12!
RTS Celebrates AmeriCorps Week
On March 8-14, 2020, Rebuilding Together Seattle joined thousands of Americans across the country to celebrate the valuable contributions of our AmeriCorps members and alumni who have brought their “A” game to repairing homes, revitalizing communities, and rebuilding lives in the Seattle area.

AmeriCorps Week is an annual celebration that recognizes members and alumni for their service since the program’s inception in 1994. The week-long celebration also honors the contributions of and support for thousands of organizations and programs that make this national service initiative possible in communities across the country. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency for service and volunteering. More than 1.1 million Americans have pledged to “get things done” as AmeriCorps members since the program started 26 years ago, providing more than 1.6 billion hours of service. Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations across the country.

RTS is proud to be part of the AmeriCorps community and is grateful for the Americorps members and alumni we have had the pleasure to work with over the years. As part of a nationwide effort to celebrate the valuable contributions of AmeriCorps members, we honor their outstanding commitment to safe and healthy homes, which has helped preserve the homes and communities of many of our Seattle neighbors in need.
Volunteer Spotlight:
Meet Fernando and the CPS Team
Fernando has been a reliable and committed volunteer for Rebuilding Together Seattle (RTS), directly managing nearly 35 Safe at Home (SAH) projects since he began volunteering with us in June of 2019 as part of the volunteer team at Christian Public Service (CPS). CPS provides voluntary service opportunities, such as helping at emergency child care shelters and large hospitals, and providing labor to rebuild after natural disasters.

Over the past year, Fernando has supported numerous of home repair projects, engaging in handrail installations, flooring replacements, minor plumbing and electrical work, extensive yard work and item removals, grab bar installations, painting, and even singing to homeowners; his crew has just about done it all! "We definitely don't want to lift ourselves up, we're here to help where we can, we want people to know why we're here!", he expressed.

After almost a year as House Captain, Fernando will be stepping down from his position in May. Speaking about his time with RTS, he admitted to having questions about the kind of work he would be getting into and that he was glad that every project turned out better than he could have imagined, "Now as far as working with ya'll it's been a pleasure! The homeowners we worked with were mostly elderly and were greatly appreciative of what we did for them. Lots of times they would bring out snacks and drinks for us showing us their thankfulness." He also thanked the RTS team for being there whenever he and his team needed anything, stating "RTS was always available and willing to help out with ideas and suggestions over the phone we felt like we left every homeowner satisfied. Each property we were at, we knew that RTS was there for us if we had any questions or needed to make bigger decisions! We, the crew and I, felt that the projects we were involved with were definitely valued and appreciated! Long live RTS!!" Our homeowners have also conveyed their gratefulness towards Fernando throughout the past year, one homeowner in particular sharing that, "The guys were so nice, very sweet young men. The supervisor was exceptionally nice and willing to do anything to help. Their mothers raised them right!"

Rebuilding Together Seattle would like to thank Fernando for his continued support of RTS and our neighbors in need, committing his time and efforts not only to the planning and materials procurement processes, but also to leading volunteers through higher level home repair tasks to ensure that each project was completed successfully.

Keep Calm and Donate!
Rebuilding Together Seattle works with some of the most vulnerable populations at risk of contracting COVID-19, and with the health and safety of our homeowners being our primary priority, we recognize the need to scale back our operations at this time.

We also realize that this is a particularly difficult time for our senior neighbors and low-income homeowners in Seattle whose needs for home repairs remain unchanged during this global pandemic. While we are currently unable to address these repairs, we know that the important work of repairing homes, revitalizing communities and rebuilding lives will still be needed in its aftermath. With the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, being safe and healthy at home has taken on a whole new meaning for all of us.

With many of our programs, events and projects (the lifeblood of our organization) on hold, please consider making a donation of any size by visiting our website today, and help RTS continue to be of service to fellow neighbors in need. It is especially during times like these that we need to help each other and make a collective impact in the face of such challenges.
GiveBIG Washington 2020 is here!
GiveBIG, Seattle's biggest day of giving, is back for its 10th year! Join Rebuilding Together Seattle and more than 1,400 Seattle area nonprofits on Wednesday, May 6th, for a day full of giving and philanthropy!
Here’s how you can make an impact:

1. Mark your calendar for May 6th and save this  link  to give your donation. You can also pre-schedule your donation for GiveBIG when you create an account  here . Donations of all levels are appreciated, as we work toward our vision of safe homes and communities for everyone!

2. Follow RTS on  Facebook  and share our GiveBIG posts to help us build momentum.

3. Spread the word! Tell your friends and family why you support Rebuilding Together Seattle through #GiveBIG. Forward this email to your family and friends along with a personal note as to why you believe in this cause, and why they should also give on May 6th. Together, we can directly enact real change in our local communities by donating to Rebuilding Together Seattle.
We can’t wait to celebrate the difference we will make together when we #GiveBIG on May 6th! Thank you for your support! 
Shop and Donate to RTS
Benefit RTS when you shop on Amazon Smile!

Enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as you are used to on and help our neighbors in need while doing so.

So whats the difference? When you shop on AmazonSmile ( ), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

So head over to AmazonSmile , set your purchases to support Rebuilding Together Seattle and get shopping!
Earn dona tions for RTS every time you shop at Fred Meyer! Simply link your Fred Meyer rewards card to Rebuilding Together Seattle (NP# GF076) and shop as a rewards customer to benefit our home repair programs. You will still earn your regular Fred Meyer's rewards points.

Each Quarter, Fred Meyer will make a donation based on the accumulated spending of the rewards customers linked to us. So in addition to your rewards points, rebates, and fuel points, you will also earn the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping support your community.

Sign up for community rewards by linking your Rewards Card HERE.
Thank You to our Spring 2020 Sponsors