Rebuilding Together seeks applicants for home repair projects in Nobles, Jackson and Cottonwood counties

Jerome Powell

WINDOM — Rebuilding Together is looking for a lot of applications, a lot of volunteers and a little money too, all for its mission of helping people in need with home repair and home safety projects in Nobles, Jackson and Cottonwood counties.

“We are primarily in the business of helping people that need help,” said Galen Kauffman, Rebuilding Together’s program manager for southwest Minnesota.

That does translate into gains for the community as well, Kauffman noted, because all three counties have labor and housing shortages and maintaining current housing stock can prevent a shortage from worsening.

Rebuilding Together is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on completing home improvement projects for homeowners who make 50% or less of the area mean income, a federal statistic that differs by county. Projects are funded with federal, state and local grants, as well as donations and Rebuilding Together’s own fundraising efforts.

Its southwest Minnesota branch is currently seeking applications for two programs.

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  • Home Repair: provides housing repairs, including siding, windows, landscaping and interior improvements such as flooring installation, patching and painting. Home Repair can also mean a contractor fixing or replacing HVAC, electrical, plumbing or roof systems.

  • Safe at Home: focuses on home safety and fall prevention modifications and ramps for older adults or people living with a disability, such as grab bars in bathrooms, handrails for steps and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

So far, the southwest Minnesota office has received about 30 applications for projects in the three counties, Kauffman said, some of which will likely fall into next year’s budget. Both programs are ongoing from year to year.

“We need some (applications) in Worthington,” he added. “We have a few from Nobles County but they’re all from outlying small towns.”

Rebuilding Together projects are completed by volunteers and contractors, depending on what they require, and more volunteers are always needed.

Many projects require only a few volunteers, and they don’t necessarily have to be handy, either, Kauffman said. Sometimes a skilled volunteer just needs a second pair of hands to hold a railing in place so it can be installed properly.

He hopes to assemble a group of contractors for specialized work — plumbers, roofers and electricians — as well as a group of volunteers for smaller projects.

“Some of that stuff we can do pretty quickly, right away, especially if it’s an issue of safety,” Kauffman said.

Visit Rebuilding Together’s website at rtmn.org to apply, volunteer or donate.

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