The City of Olympia’s Community Block Grant Program gave a $100,000 grant to Rebuilding Together Thurston County (RTTC), according to a city newsletter.
RTTC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; a local branch of the national organization Building Together that serves low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities.
“We provide this assistance to low-income homeowners who live in Thurston County and are disabled, or 62+, or are military veterans or are families with young children,” said RTTC Executive Director Cathy Johnson to the JOLT.
Johnson added that the funds given by the city have helped them assist more Olympians, allowing them to hire an application coordinator, provide phones to their staff, get a new office computer, and provide services that they could not previously do: such as draining septic tanks and repairing roofs.
“RTTC typically doesn't replace roofs because of the cost,” Johnson explained. “The grant from the city makes the roof replacement possible.”
Founded by the Olympia Master Builders Remodeling Council and other community leaders, Johnson said that RTTC has helped over 275 households and 450 people with ADA (Americans with Disabilities) modifications and vital home repairs free of charge since its founding in 2003. Of these 41% are in Olympia, 17% are in Lacey, 13% are in Tumwater, and the remaining 29% are done in rural areas all over Thurston.
According to Johnson, RTTC currently has 39 projects in Thurston County, ranging from wheelchair ramps to smoke detectors, motion lights, plumbing repairs including leaks and new hot water tanks, stair and handrail replacement, furnace repair, and the replacement of water damaged floors.
“Our ‘typical’ homeowner who applies for services is a disabled single woman (either widowed or never married), 65 years of age, lives in a manufactured home in a park, lives on an income of $1,150 a month, and pays park rent of $650 - leaving just $500 to cover all of her living expenses,” said Johnson. “This $500 is a very small amount of money to cover food, medical expenses, transportation, etc. so if there are any ‘unexpected’ expenses or repairs needed, there isn't money to pay for it.
Applicants for RTTC’s services have a median annual income of $14,000, Johnson remarked.
Johnson added that RTTC currently needs volunteers, as well as contractors and suppliers who offer their services and products at a discount. She announced that they will be having a Rebuilding Together's Build iT! Breakfast, their main fundraising event, is on May 16.
“Without our services, people live in untenable situations that are uncomfortable and unsafe,” said Johnson.
Interested persons can click here to either volunteer, partner, donate, or apply for RTTC’s services.
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