Drexel Snapshot: Student Volunteers Renovate 10 Homes in a Day for Low-Income Philadelphians

More than 100 volunteers including Drexel University students, faculty, staff and parents helped Rebuilding Together Philadelphia provide free health and safety repairs to low-income homeowners in the Mantua neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Drexel volunteers worked side-by-side with Philadelphia technical high school students, corporate volunteers and homeowners to renovate 10 homes in just one day.

Rebuilding Together Philadelphia is a local, independent affiliate of a national network focused on preserving affordable homeownership and revitalizing neighborhoods using volunteer resources.

“Drexel has a long-standing partnership with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia to support homeowners in Mantua,” said Lucy Kerman, PhD, Drexel’s vice provost for University and Community Partnerships. “Organized by student leaders in the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, Drexel’s participation in the Block Build is one of the most meaningful service opportunities we can offer our students.”

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At each Block Build, RTP designates a “weatherization team” to go house to house to ensure that gaps are caulked or weather-stripped, exterior holes patched, and hot water heater blankets installed, in addition to other energy saving applications. Feedback from homeowners showed that RTP’s repairs reduced homeowners’ utility bills and increased comfort, especially in winter.

Through its repair projects, RTP and its 33,000 volunteers have helped 1,369 low-income homeowners and 60 community agencies since its founding in 1988.

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