As more people are finding it harder to make ends meet, four Savannah families will get help repairing their homes this October.
Thanks to the hard work and generosity of volunteers and area companies, the nonprofit group Rebuilding Together Savannah will repair four houses in West Savannah near Sustainable Fellwood.
"We wanted to give back to the communities close to where we are building Sustainable Fellwood," said Denis Blackburne, Chief Financial Officer of sustainable developer Melaver Inc. "The Rebuilding Together Savannah organization gave us the unique opportunity of doing exactly what we wanted to achieve. When I approached the development team I was overwhelmed by the collective positive response and generosity. The most exciting part is that it will be the individuals and employees of the sponsoring companies that will be carrying out the work.
"There is already excitement in the air," Blackburne said. "Everybody wins in such community involvement."
The work is done by volunteers and there is no charge to homeowners. The nonprofit focuses on health and safety concerns first, providing modifications for handicap accessibility or repairs the homeowner needs. The sponsors cover the cost of the materials and repairs.
"It changes people’s lives to have their home made safer and sounder,’ said Ellen Hatcher, executive director of Rebuilding Together Savannah. "It makes all the difference in people’s lives to have someone come in and fix things." Some of the repairs are desperately needed and allow the homeowners to stay in their homes. Many are retired or handicapped.
"I think that what we do changes the homeowners’ lives and changes the volunteers’ lives as well," Hatcher said. "You can see the difference you made. You know you helped." Many volunteers keep coming back because they find the work so rewarding, said Hatcher, who volunteered for the group since 1997 and then took on the staff position two years ago.
The Rebuilding Together organization selected the four homes, and eight companies are co-sponsoring the rebuilding.
The companies sponsoring the rebuilding are: Melaver, Inc.; Parallel Housing, Inc.; Progressive Redevelopment, Inc.; S&ME, Inc.; Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn, P.C.; Long Engineering Inc; Lane Management, LLC; and Catamount Constructors Inc.
Rebuilding Together Savannah is a volunteer organization that in partnership with the community, rehabilitates the houses of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly, disabled, and families with children so that they may continue to live in warmth, safety and independence. Among the recipients are the elderly, the disabled, military veterans and families in need. Rebuilding Together Savannah is part of the national organization Rebuilding Together Inc., which has more than 200 affiliates nationwide.
About Sustainable Fellwood:
Sustainable Fellwood is a mixed use, mixed income Housing Authority of Savannah redevelopment. Master Developer: Melaver, Inc., in partnership with Parallel Housing Inc,, Progressive Redevelopment Inc,, and Vanguard Developers. In collaboration with: Lott Barber, Architecture and Planning, Catamount Constructors, Inc., City of Savannah, and CHSA Development of Savannah. www.sustainablefellwood.com