The North Bend Eagle

  Rebuilding Together
Bernice Conkling checks on Clarence Reiss, (back) Rick Hobza and Bernard Larson as they measure before pouring footing for a deck the organization Rebuilding Together is building for Conkling.

Rebuilding Together works to keep elderly in home

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 4/22/15

Bernice Conkling gets around with a walker, and it’s getting more difficult all the time. She is looking forward to a small deck and ramp at her front door.

“I’m excited about having a place to sit outside,” Conkling said. “It’ll help me get around and stuff. It’s going to be nice.”

Conkling’s deck and ramp will be built by Rebuilding Together of Greater Fremont Area, Inc. Rebuilding Together is one of over 200 affiliates throughout the country, making it the nation’s largest nonprofit working to preserve affordable home ownership and revitalize neighborhoods. The goal of the organization is to provide free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans. Some of the assistance is as simple as installing a handrail to assist getting up and down steps to major modifications of a home.

“Where Habitat for Humanity builds, Rebuilding Together repairs,” project manager Clarence Reiss said.

One must apply for the assistance, which is income based. A single person cannot make more than $1,945 a month, while a family of four must have an income less than $3,975 a month.

Reiss has been involved in Rebuilding Together since August 2014 and has worked in Snyder, Hooper, Fremont and now, North Bend.

“It’s very fulfilling,” Reiss said, “helping people with unfortunate situations stay in their homes.”

Conkling, 81, has family and friends who help her out, but the ramp was a little beyond their ability.

Reiss said that Saturday, April 25 (rescheduled because of rain), Rebuilding Together will be working on a roof on one house, replacing windows on another, both in Fremont, as well as the deck in North Bend. This is all part of the National Rebuilding Day.

This effort will be aided by sponsors who have made donations large and small. The Fremont Area Community Foundation helped buy a trailer to haul tools and other equipment in. Do It Best Hardware offered a substantial discount on hand tools. Bomgaar Supply gave a discount on electrical tools and ladders. Lowe’s gave a $10,000 grant to help with roofs and windows.

The Fremont Rebuilding Together will be celebrating the national day activities throughout the last two weeks of April. Complete details are at

Rebuilding Together depends on donations, skilled trade professionals, service volunteers, support volunteers as well as financial contributions. Anyone interested in helping is invited to go to the web site to volunteer, donate or request assistance.

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