Rebuild Upstate approaches the affordable housing shortage differently than most organizations. In understanding what a home means to the family that occupies it, they focus on repairing and improving existing homes to better suit the families already living there. In this way, they allow residents to continue to live in the same place, all the while making it a more livable and functional space. Says Assistant Director Dayle Stewart, “Rebuild Upstate focuses exclusively on existing homes because we believe that the best home for a homeowner at-risk in the affordable housing crisis is the home they already own. By repairing homes, or making safety/accessibility modifications, we help protect the families that live in them - allowing them to stay in their homes and in the communities they are familiar with, and ultimately leading to a higher quality of life.”
Rebuild Upstate helps allocate volunteers and materials to home preservation projects across the Upstate. These projects may include installing a wheelchair ramp, putting on new roofing, stabilizing flooring, and installing safety measures, such as handrails, in unsafe areas. In 2019 alone, Rebuild Upstate completed 478 improvement projects and repaired 163 homes. This impact is vital to maintaining community. It allows homeowners to remain in their homes, which, after improvement, are better suited to fit their lifestyles, and keeps them connected to social networks and local amenities that are routine parts of their lives. Through their understanding of homeownership and the importance of keeping residents in their homes, Rebuild Upstate is helping to improve homes and allowing individuals and families to maintain their dignity.