Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies Concludes Rebuilding Together Improves Home Accessibility, Safety and Health

WASHINGTON, DC – March 12, 2013 – Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that rehabilitates homes for low-income homeowners, announced today that Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has published a working paper, which found significant improvements in health and safety, improvements in accessibility, and energy use for those served by the Rebuilding Together affiliate network.

“Looking at some key demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of homeowners served by Rebuilding Together, it is clear that this organization serves a distinct homeowner population, one who would not otherwise be able to undertake much in the way of home improvement and repair,” said Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Harvard’s study validates the critical work that Rebuilding Together’s affiliate network and many of our nonprofit partners are delivering every day to make homes safe and healthy for our nation’s lower income families, veterans who have served their country, and those who have disabilities and need our support,” said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together.  “We appreciate all of the input from our participating affiliates, the team at Harvard’s Joint Center, our sponsors, and our partners.”

The Harvard study, titled “The Role of Nonprofit Organizations and Public Programs in Promoting Rehabilitation and Repair Activity,” was conducted by the Joint Center’s Remodeling  Futures Program to better understand the specific roles nonprofit agencies and public programs play in home remodeling and repair, including their main objectives, service mechanisms and strategies, locations and populations served, and estimated impacts.

The report concluded that nonprofit organizations, such as Rebuilding Together, and public agencies are investing considerable resources—financial, technical and direct provision of services—to make homes safer and healthier, more energy efficient, and more accessible for low-income, elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged households. The result of these efforts is the preservation of badly-needed affordable housing opportunities, and the stabilization and revitalization of distressed neighborhoods. The collaborative and networked structure of major nonprofits in this sector allows for the flow of resources to support the efforts at a local level, where the specific needs of their community are best known.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies working paper is available free for download at: http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/research/publications/role-nonprofit-organizations-and-public-programs-promoting-home-rehabilitation

About Rebuilding Together:

Rebuilding Together is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that believes Community Starts at Home. Our focus provides critical repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and community centers at no cost to service recipients. Our impact extends beyond the individuals served to revitalize and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and communities across the country. Our nearly 200 local affiliates complete approximately 10,000 rebuild projects a year thanks to the efforts of 200,000 volunteers from corporate partners, skilled trade professionals and everyday good citizens. Join us — visit www.RebuildingTogether.org.

About Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies – Remodeling Futures Program

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies advances understanding of housing issues and informs policy.  Through its research, education, and public outreach programs, the center helps leaders in government, business, and the civic sectors make decisions that effectively address the needs of cities and communities.  Through graduate and executive courses, as well as fellowships and internship opportunities, the Joint Center also trains and inspires the next generation of housing leaders. The Remodeling Futures Program, initiated by the Joint Center in 1995, is a comprehensive study of the factors influencing the growth and changing characteristics of housing renovation and repair activity in the United States. The Program seeks to produce a better understanding of the home improvement industry and its relationship to the broader residential construction industry.

Rebuilding Together Contact:  Janice Daue Walker, Rebuilding Together/JD Walker Communications, LLC, 781-290-6528, jdwalker@jdwalkercommunications.com

For questions or more information about the Harvard Joint Center working paper, please contact:
Kerry Donahue, Communications & External Relations Coordinator, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, (617) 495-7640, kerry_donahue@harvard.edu