Media Information about Rebuilding Together El Paso
History and Overview
Rebuilding Together El Paso was founded in 1991 as initiative of the Junior League. In 1995 the organization continued as independent non-profit, with the following mission:
“Bringing volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners”. To do this, RTEP develops partnerships with the community to rebuild homeowner occupied homes and nonprofit facilities for low income residents particularly, the elderly or those with disabilities, so they may live independently with dignity in warmth and safety at no cost to the recipient(s). Our parent organization Rebuilding Together is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to preserve the affordable homeownership and revitalize communities. Rebuilding Together El Paso is part of Rebuilding Together’s network of more than 150 affiliates that provide free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low income elderly and disabled Americans.
RTEP provides repair and modification services to low income homeowners in El Paso, as well as area nonprofit organizations whose missions are compatible with ours. Typical work includes installing handicap/accessibility enhancements, such as wheelchair or other access ramps, grab bars, level door handles and faucets and so forth; installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms , energy efficient upgrades such as caulking windows, rehanging doors, upgrading or replacing electrical service systems, repairing or replacing roofs and upgrading or replacing plumbing and HVAC systems; replacing rotten wood on subfloors, porches and stairs; re-plastering walls; installing GFI receptacles where needed, clearing exterior areas of debris and painting interiors and exteriors of the homes.
Rebuilding Together is a volunteer organization which spends about 97% of its revenue toward its mission, with 3% spent on its administration. The Board and committees comprises of some 15 persons, with a diverse background.
Statement of need:
El Paso ranks as the eighth poorest city above 250,000 citizens in the USA. The population is mainly Hispanic, based on the historical background and location of the city. Income levels are low, with 30.7% making less than $25,000 (the average income in Texas $51,704), while education is limited based on a population who have earned a bachelor’s degree of 22.7% (Texas’s bachelor’s degree holders are 25.5% of its population). 26 percent of El Paso residents of 25 year and older don’t have a high school degree or equivalent, which is 10% below the national level.
Unemployment in El Paso is typically somewhat higher than in the rest of the State and the Country.
Homeownership lags somewhat behind the average in Texas and the conditions of the homes in the older districts are very bad, driven by the poverty. Construction quality is poor and maintenance is often neglected.
The population we are supporting has incomes between extreme low and very low, according definitions of HUD.
Homeownership can be as much a burden as a boon. Most of the homes we work on are typically 40 years old and are in need of a range of health and safety related repairs. With our typical recipient having a median income of ~$16,000 per year and costs for these repairs raging from $3,000 to $10,000, the resulting erosion of health, safety and quality of life for these residents can seem insurmountable. These homeowners must often choose food and medicine over critical repairs to their home, choices that over time lead to issues that directly affect their immediate and long term health and safety.
Program description :
RTEP promotes its mission in the community through participation in community meetings, posters in public places and publicity around its projects.
Applications for support are often based on referrals by health and social workers, word of mouth, or our own publicity. Application documents are made available and information on age, homeownership, residents in the home and total household income are collected.
The number of applications per year is up to 170, while we can only reach out to 40% of these homeowner in need, limited by financial resources and capacity.
The selected homes are inspected and a scope of work is made. Contractors are requested to bid on the repair list and the project will then be assigned. After completion inspection takes place and the homeowner signs off, so that payment of the contractor can take place.
For the painting of the homes, installation of grab bars, smoke and CO detectors, fire extinguishers, we rely increasingly on volunteers. We participate in the UTEP’s Project Move day and target typically 10 homes, which are then painted by some 200 students and faculty.
The last Saturday of April is National Rebuild Day and with the support of about 600 volunteers from companies, churches, welfare organizations and the military from Fort Bliss.
Strategic Direction for Rebuilding Together El Paso
- Based on the growing need of the population we serve, our intent is to expand the scope of our mission by reaching out to more needy, eligible homeowners. We have made a modest start in diversifying our activity in the area of disaster recovery, small repairs by a handyman and repairing a community center.
- Growing our organization requires special focus in a number of enabling areas and our strategic plan provides the analysis and direction for addressing the required actions. Our plan takes a more comprehensive approach and the quality of its content will grow over time as we learn from our experience. The major objectives defined in our strategic plan are:
- Preserve safe and healthy home conditions in the low-income neighborhoods of El Paso, extending home improvement to revitalization of communities. We want to create a stronger support structure to help a growing number of low-income elderly and/or disabled homeowners, including veterans, thereby positively impacting the communities in which these homeowners live.
- Increase the brand equity of Rebuilding Together in the El Paso community. We believe that this is a condition for growing local funding and commitment of volunteers for the Rebuilding Together El Paso Board, its Committees and such home projects as house painting and yard clearing.
- Increase private donations to balance the amount of CDBG grants. We are very much dependent on the contribution of CDBG and we should further diversify our funding.
Strengthen our affiliate’s organization by recruitment, training, systems development and financial transparency. The positive impact that we can provide to the