WHEN THE TEAM FROM Rebuilding Together Montgomery
County arrived at Eula Knight’s home in Montgomery Village,
she had already gone through a period of homelessness and
was afraid that the poor condition of her house and her limited
;nances would leave her without a home again.
“It was so depressing,” Knight says. “The house was so old
and torn up.”
Knight, 97, who uses a walker and had a fractured rib at
the time, was physically and ;nancially unable to handle the
repairs herself. That’s where Rebuilding Together Montgomery
County came in. Her home was to be one of the more than
100 houses that the organization works on every year at no
cost to low-income homeowners.
The Gaithersburg-based nonpro;t connects homeowners
with skilled professionals to handle extensive repairs. In
Knight’s home, the workers did an energy audit to reduce
her utility bills, replaced the heating and cooling systems,
repaired the roof, and installed a new garbage disposal, ;re
extinguisher and smoke detectors.
For less-skilled labor, Rebuilding Together Montgomery
County relies on nearly 1,000 volunteers annually. The national
Rebuilding Together organization, which has local af;liates in
39 states, hosts National Rebuilding Day every April, when its
Helping the most vulnerable residents remain at home BY KELLY SANKOWSKI
staff assigns projects to community volunteers who work directly
with homeowners. This year, volunteers for Rebuilding Together
Montgomery County worked on 13 homes. The group at Knight’s
home painted, installed towel bars and helped with landscaping.
“Those people were wonderful,” Knight says. “They talked to
me, showed me how to use my new thermostat. They showed
me what I needed to know.”
Since many of the people helped by Rebuilding Together
are elderly, one of the goals is to allow them to age in place
by making their homes more accessible and functional.
Nelson Nguyen, a program manager for Rebuilding Together
Montgomery County, is continuing to help Knight. He says his
next goal is to ;nd a way to install a chairlift on her stairs,
since she essentially has to crawl up to her bed at night.
“The majority of Americans prefer to age in place,” Nguyen
says. “They ;nancially and emotionally have been invested in
their home...so they don’t want to leave.”
Knight is thrilled to be staying in her home. “I was so relieved
to know I was not going to be homeless again,” she says. “To
me, [the people from Rebuilding Together] were all like God’s
angels. I was so very grateful to them for all of their kindness.”
REBUILDING TOGETHER MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Jason Sheer (left) and David Baum helped make
improvements on Eula Knight’s home as volunteers
with Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.