Housing Nonprofit Weathers Coronavirus

Housing Nonprofit Weathers Coronavirus

Newport This Week Published on Sunday, July 12, 2020

Noelle Shiland (left) and Colleen Weaver (right), president of the Newport County Board of Realtors were among the dozens of ReBuilding Together volunteers.

This year’s pandemic had an impact on the rehabilitation of homes and social service facilities, but did not stop the projects of Rebuilding Together Greater Newport.

The board of directors voted to accept four sites in 2020 out of many deserving applicants: two are veterans, one person has a handicapped family member, and The Salvation Army on Memorial Boulevard serves the community as a food bank and meal site. The program turned out to be a major undertaking because of the pandemic. The “National Day” for Rebuilding Together is the last Saturday in April, but this year the national office curtailed any work by volunteers.

Fortunately, the volunteer contractors were able to continue their work: A-1 Roofing provided a roof on Arnold Avenue; Tom Peter’s Plumbing completed plumbing repairs at The Salvation Army and a house on Tilden Avenue; E.S.H.I. Construction, Fulvio Pires and Tommy Long Property Repair provided exterior work; and electrician Mark D’Andrea worked on all four projects.

By the end of May, the national office allowed volunteers to begin working on the exterior of homes. The sponsoring organizations worked in very small groups of two or three while wearing masks, gloves and social distancing to finish the projects.

Rebuilding Together Greater Newport was established as an affiliate of the national organization in 2001. It is a 501(c)(3) organization that will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021.

Major sponsors this year were the Newport County Board of Realtors, Salve Regina University, the Kiwanis Club of Newport, and the First Presbyterian Church. Other major sponsors were Bank Newport, Embrace Home Loans, Webster

Bank, and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, in addition to private donors. Necessary repairs could not have been accomplished without their contributions, especially the very major contribution from Lowe’s that provided two large grants to every affiliate in the United States.

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