What We Do > Frequently Asked Questions



Q:   What is Rebuilding Together Bergen County?

A:    Rebuilding Together Bergen County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1998. We provide home repairs to low-income homeowners who are seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children in Bergen County. All repairs are provided at no charge to the homeowners. We have successfully repaired over 210 homes to date.

Q:     How do you provide the repairs for free?

A:     We receive generous financial support from the corporate community as well as local foundations. We use this money to purchase the materials needed for the repairs that we do. Then, volunteers do most of the repairs, saving us thousands of dollars in labor costs.

Q:     When are most of the repairs done?

A:     Homeowners will receive repairs on our big project day, called Rebuilding Day. Rebuilding Day is always the last Saturday in April. (Some work may also be done the prior two weekends or the following Saturday.) We also do several projects each fall.

Q:     What kind of repairs do you do?

A:     We focus on repairs that will keep homeowners warmer, safer, and drier. These can include roof repair, energy-efficiency improvements, repair of safety hazards, and accessibility modifications for people with disabilities. We can do many different types of repairs. What we do depends on the condition of the home, the availability of funding and the skills of our volunteers.

Q:     Is this like the TV Show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”?

A:     No. We can’t rehabilitate or build an entire house like they do on TV. We target repairs that will make the home warmer, safer, and drier and help to revitalize the community. The home will be more comfortable and safer to live in, and will probably look nicer, but it won’t be a complete makeover.

Q:     Is everyone who applies guaranteed to get help?

A:     Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that everyone who applies will be accepted into the program. We have limited resources and have to prioritize homes based on need as well as the skills and abilities of our volunteers.

Q:     What do you expect from homeowners if their home is selected?

A:     If a home is selected for work, we ask that the homeowner works in partnership with the volunteer team assigned to the home to prioritize and plan the repairs. We also ask that any able-bodied residents of the home, or relatives who live in the area, be present to help volunteers with the repairs. We also expect the homeowners to attend a homeowner breakfast meeting, have our paperwork notarized, agree not to perform any unauthorized repairs while Rebuilding Together Bergen County is repairing the home (Rebuilding Together Bergen County gets all necessary permits and has a legal obligation to comply with said permits) and write “a thank-you note” to the volunteer team after repairs have been completed.

Q:     How do you select the homeowners you serve?

A:     We select homeowners based on income, age, disability, and on the repairs that are needed in the home. We will only work on owner-occupied homes. We are not always able to serve everyone who applies.

Q:     Why does Rebuilding Together Bergen County put a $6,000 lien on the homes it repairs?

A:     Our corporate and foundation sponsors contribute a minimum of $6,000 to sponsor a Rebuilding project.  It is their hope and ours that the homeowners will reap the benefits of those repairs for many years to come.  (Homes receive on average $4 in added value for every $1 put into the home.)  If the home is sold within 5 years of repairs being made, the lien allows us to recoup the sponsor's donation so that it can be used to help another Bergen County homeowner.

Q:     Does Rebuilding Together Bergen County proceed with the lien even if the home is sold due to the homeowner's illness or death?

A:     Rebuilding Together Bergen County’s mission is for the homeowner to age in place in warmth, safety and independence. However, Rebuilding Together Bergen County realizes that circumstances happen where one is forced to vacate one's home prior to the lapse of 5 years. Should this happen, Rebuilding Together Bergen County’s Board of Directors will deal with each case on an individual basis.

Q:     Does Rebuilding Together Bergen County repair only single-family homes?

A:     No, RTBC can perform repairs on two-family homes so long as the homeowner uses the home as his/her primary residence. The income derived from rent of the other portion of the home must be disclosed as income to meet the HUD Low Income Guidelines. Rebuilding Together Bergen County will also work on condos but only the interior.

Q:     When do I get notification that my application was accepted?

A:     Notifications of application acceptance or decline are sent out by mid-December of each year.

Q:     If I have home repair skills and want to volunteer, what should I do?

A:     Please fill out our Volunteer Registration Form.  If you have questions, call us at 201-447-8886 or email Lynn at Lynn@RebuildingTogetherBergen.org . We always need skilled volunteers!


Rebuilding Together Bergen County

P.O. Box 1389, Ridgewood, NJ 07451

phone: 201-447-8886   fax: 201-857-3909   www.RebuildingTogetherBergen