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Local nonprofit ensures safe and healthy housing for community members

A small cohort of dedicated volunteers is stepping up to help support low-income homeowners, performing home improvements at no cost.

Since 1988, the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church has worked to ensure low-income homeowners in Arlington and elsewhere in Northern Virginia have safe and accessible living spaces.

The group, a branch of the national organization Rebuilding Together, is based in the city of Fairfax but lends support to area nonprofit housing organizations, including Choice. Respect. independence, which aids people with disabilities. Last year, the volunteers spent 6,924 hours helping repair 100 homes across the region, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Volunteers are often involved in multiple projects each week, ranging from installing grab bars to new dryers. Typically, these projects involve a team of five volunteers and are completed with a budget of $500 or less.

Daphne Lathouras, communications manager for the local nonprofit, shared an anecdote with ARLnow from one homeowner who said, “I’ve been going up and down these stairs for 57 years and I can’t believe the difference two handrails make.”

Recently, in Arlington, volunteers also helped renovate a new building for the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center, which has recycled more than 3 million pairs of eyeglasses for people in need.

Rebuilding Together’s local Northern Virginia affiliate heavily relies on the dedicated work of volunteers, some of whom provide year-round support.

“The key [to our success] is the incredible volunteers,” Lathouras told ARLnow.

The local organization receives funding from several sources including the Arlington County government, faith and corporate partners as well as individual donors.

“I want to thank the wonderful group with hearts of gold that came to my aid when I really needed it,” a homeowner said when giving feedback to the organization.

Additional information, as well as the volunteer sign-up link, are available on the nonprofit’s website.

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