Charity Begins at Home for Organization

By Brenckle, Lara | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

Charity Begins at Home for Organization


Brenckle, Lara, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Ron Richard Brown has spent the last 30 years fixing up his house on Foliage Street in Wilkinsburg.

Lately, though, keeping up with the electrical problems, plumbing snafus and painting has been difficult for the retired steel plant maintenance worker.

"We're on a fixed income," said Brown, 63. "We can't keep at it no more. There's no extra money. You got the utilities, the taxes, the school taxes -- by the time you buy food, that's all you can do."

On Saturday, however, Brown stood back as volunteers painted his walls, rigged up banisters and ripped out old wiring. His house was one of 31 projects selected by Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, a nonprofit group that provides home repairs for low-income senior citizens, for its annual Rebuilding Day.

Executive Director Cindy Gilch said her group receives roughly 400 applications a year for its three home repair programs.

"The need is so great in Pittsburgh, said Gilch. "We have the second-largest population of seniors in the country and the 12th- oldest housing stock. The houses are in critical condition."

Most homeowners the group helps need a minimum $10,000 to $15,000 worth of work, Gilch said. A company or civic group sponsor renovations of each home and generally donate about $3,000 toward the costs. Materials and additional costs are absorbed by the contractors, skilled tradesmen and others who donate their time and talents.

"It keeps our senior citizens in familiar surroundings," said David Lyle, representing the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters Local 230. …

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