The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.

RSS feed of this blog

Nonprofit helps low-income homeowners with repairs

With winter days bringing cold, rain and even some snow and ice, some area residents find that their homes do not provide the shelter that they should.

And for many elderly, disabled and low-income residents, paying for professional repair work is just not an option.

“They don’t have money,” said Steve Spratt of Steve Spratt Improvements. “They are lucky if they can keep the electricity on.”

Spratt, in addition to running his Fredericksburg remodeling company full time, is the president of Rebuilding Together–Fredericksburg, a nonprofit organization that remodels and repairs homes for those in need.

Every year, on the last Saturday in April, Rebuilding Together rounds up over 300 volunteers, both skilled professionals and unskilled people wishing to lend a hand, and does repair work for 30 to 40 houses at no cost to the homeowners, Spratt said.

The organization’s stated goal is “to provide a warm, safe and dry environment for low-income homeowners, enabling them to live independently and with dignity,” according to its website.

“We try to keep the weather out,” Spratt said.

Rebuilding Together is currently accepting applications from low-income residents of the city of Fredericksburg, Stafford County and Spotsylvania County who need help with home repairs.

The application deadline is Jan. 8, 2014, although the organization tries to provide help throughout the year.

Spratt and the other local leaders of the organization dedicate time from now to April to planning and organizing for the big day of repairing.

Rebuilding Together sets up teams tailored to each specific repair job, each one with a knowledgeable house captain and the appropriate number of people with the appropriate skills, occasionally hiring a professional when necessary.

Although they receive some money from local governments and businesses, Spratt said that the majority of the organization’s resources come from church donations of money and time.

Spratt also uses his connections in the remodeling business to negotiate reduced prices for supplies.

“I figured that this was a good way to give back to the community and to use my contacts in the business to help with the work,” Spratt said.

Applications are available on the organization’s website, rebuildingtogether, or can be requested by phone, 540/373-9807, by mail, Box 41280, Fredericksburg, Va. 22404, or by email, lshack@rebuildingtogeth

Bridget Balch: 540/374-5417