FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is Rebuilding Together North Jersey?
A: Rebuilding Together North Jersey (RTNJ), formerly known as Rebuilding Together North Jersey, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1998. We provide critical home repairs to low-income homeowners who are seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and families with children in Bergen County and Passaic County. All repairs are provided at no charge to the homeowners. To date, we have successfully improved more than 550 homes and nonprofit community facilities in our service area.
Q: How do you provide the repairs for free?
A: Rebuilding Together seeks out and receives generous financial support from the corporate community as well as local foundations. We use this funding to purchase the materials needed for the repairs that we do. We also establish and maintain relationships with hundreds of volunteers. Many of our volunteers are professionals in skilled construction trades. Together, with individual and corporate group volunteers, they do most of the repairs – saving thousands of dollars in labor costs.
Q: When are most of the repairs done?
A: For applicants approved for critical needs assistance, repairs are scheduled throughout the year, as funding allows.
For those applicants who become National Rebuilding Month home projects, those repairs are done during the month of April of each year. Typically, we will plan and complete pre-work activities at selected homes during the first weeks of April. All of this prepares us to make the majority of improvements being done on our big project day – Rebuilding Day, which is always the last Saturday in April.
We also do community rebuilding projects each fall, as funding permits.
Q: What kind of repairs do you do?
A: We focus on repairs that will keep homeowners safe, warm, and dry. This can include accessibility modifications for people with disabilities and/or physical limitations, repair of safety hazards in the home, energy-efficiency improvements, and roof repair,
We can do many different types of repairs and improvements. What we do depends on the homeowner’s needs, 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 don’t rehabilitate or rebuild entire homes, and we don’t provide luxury kitchen or bathroom installations like they do on TV. We target critical improvements – repairs that will make homes safe, warm, dry, healthy, and help to revitalize our communities. Much of what we do is “behind the scenes”. The critical electrical, plumbing, and roofing repairs we provide may be invisible to the eye. The home will be safer and more comfortable 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: No. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that everyone who applies will be accepted into the program. We have limited resources and must prioritize home projects based on a number of factors, including need, funding, and 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 work in partnership with RTNJ and 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, become volunteers for the project to help with the repairs.
We also expect the homeowners to agree and cooperate with all legal requirements, attend a homeowner breakfast meeting, agree not to perform any unauthorized repairs while Rebuilding Together is repairing the home (RTNJ 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 are not able to serve everyone who applies and is eligible. We select homeowners based on income, age, disability, and the repairs that are needed in the home. We will only work on owner-occupied homes.
Q: Why does RTNJ put a lien on the homes it repairs?
A: Our corporate and foundation sponsors contribute a minimum of $5,000 to sponsor a Rebuilding project. On average, the homes that we improve realize $4 in added value for every $1 we put into the home. We hope that the homeowners will reap the benefits of those repairs for many years to come. 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 deserving homeowner.
Q: Does Rebuilding Together North Jersey proceed with the lien even if the home is sold due to the homeowner’s illness or death?
A: Rebuilding Together North Jersey is committed to enabling homeowners to age in place in warmth, safety, and independence. However, we realize that there may be circumstances that force a homeowner to vacate their home within 5 years. Should this happen, Rebuilding Together North Jersey’s Board of Directors evaluates each case on an individual basis.
Q: Does Rebuilding Together North Jersey repair only single-family homes?
A: No, RTNJ can perform repairs on multi-family homes as long as the homeowner uses the home as his/her primary residence. The income derived from rent of the other portion(s) of the home must be disclosed as income to meet the HUD Low-Income Guidelines. Rebuilding Together North Jersey will also work on condos, but only the interior.
Q: When do I get a 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 Sign Up Form.