Philadelphia homeowners get a helping hand with repairs

MANTUA (WPVI) -- Some residents in the Mantua section of Philadelphia received a special gift Friday: free home repairs.

A new program called Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is helping low-income families improve their lives and their living situations.

Volunteers provide much of the manpower.

Ruby Beckett has lived in her Mantua home on 39th Street for 33 years. For close to 20 of them, she has been trying to fix the roof.

"I needed a new roof, and I couldn't afford it," she told Action News.

Miss Ruby, as she's known, says for years she'd put patches on it. She got a loan and hired contractors, but says their work wasn't up to par.

Water damage eventually soon ravaged room after room.


All that changed when Rebuilding Together Philadelphia got involved.

"This is the biggest blessing, besides grandchildren, that I ever had in my life," said Beckett.

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (RTP) is rehabbing 14 homes in a four-day block build, and the group expects to complete at total of 25 during this phase in Mantua by the end of May.

None of the repairs are cosmetic. They are all based on 25 health and safety goals.

"They have such limited resources that they have to make a decision between feeding their families or making repairs," said volunteer and RTP board member Kathleen Maloney.

"The need is just enormous," said RTP Executive Director Stefanie Seldin. "The city has a repair program that has 6000 homeowners waiting for repairs."

100 volunteers and the homeowners themselves joined in. There was a group of students today from nearby Drexel University.

"When you think about it, rebuilding one house changes a life," said Drexel's president, John Fry. "Rebuilding 25 changes a community."

Beckett worked all night in her job as a recovery specialist, but hopped into action Friday and plans to pay it forward.

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is always looking for volunteers of any skill level.
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