Now, just two blocks from the Gowanus Canal in an area once devastated by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, Rebuilding Together has a new home of its own, where they can continue its mission of providing free home repairs, while training others in valuable trades.
Yvonne Shackelford’s was trying to make the Queens home she has lived in since childhood handicap accessible for his sister. In April, Rebuilding Together began interior work.
“I feel a lot safer in my home,” Shackelford said. “In the end result, I’m much happier, I’m much more comfortable and I look forward to the completion of my home.”
She praised how upfront Rebuilding Together was throughout the entire process, telling her what was and wasn’t possible. Through her tears and her laughter, the volunteers were always there to help with a smile.
One reason Rebuilding Together needed the new space is to expand its workforce training program. Their seven-week construction training program has a dedicated classroom in the new headquarters.
Graduate George Moore said the people that ran the program had a profound impact on his life.
“They changed a lot of things about my life,” Moore said. “They gave me confidence, they showed me leadership skills that I didn’t even know I had.”
Councilman Carlos Menchaca helped secure funding in the City Council’s recent budget for the workforce training program. He hopes that bolstering the program will ultimately make communities like Red Hook and Gowanus more resilient.
“Not only are we going to be able to bring more people into these construction industries, but we really need the public to continue to understand and support us in our resiliency efforts,” he said.