Several homes in Chicago's Austin neighborhood get makeovers thanks to local volunteers

Evelyn Holmes Image
Friday, November 4, 2022
Volunteers help repair homes, revitalize communities in Chicago
Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago and Lowe's have partnered together and are on a mission to repair homes and revitalize in Chicago communities.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In a just few short weeks, Rosetta Scott's house will finally become a home again.

"This has been a godsend," Scott said.

Scott has lived in the house she bought with her husband more than 40 years ago.

But the 78-year-old widow said upkeep became difficult after losing him to COVID, along with his income, during the pandemic.

Her adult son, a veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury while in the service, could do little to help.

"I took out loans to have these things fixed and I couldn't afford it anymore," Scott said.

Badly in need of repairs, the house is now getting a much needed makeover, thanks to a partnership between Rebuild Together Metro Chicago and home improvement giant Lowe's.

The effort is part of a mission to repair homes and revitalize communities.

"We're creating generational wealth because those homes are remaining in the community and in their families," said Wanda Ramirez, with Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago.

Repairs made through the home repair program cost homeowners nothing. They just have to apply.

Work at the Scott house doesn't just include fixing the roof and a gut renovation of the basement, but also making it earlier for the senior to get around in her own home.

"We're also going to perform some make-safe repairs, so we'll be installing some handrails and grab bars," said Chad Ruckauf, Rebuild Together Metro Chicago director of construction.

Now the work here at Scott's house should last about five weeks. It is just one of six houses in the Austin neighborhood that the group is working on.

Volunteers from Lowe's got the demo done Thursday before contractors come in to get construction work done.

"To tell you the truth, I enjoy it myself. And when I talked to the volunteers, they are passionate about it too," said Raymond Hernandez, Lowe's Brickyard store manager.

As is Scott, who said the repairs not only give her peace of mind, but much more.

"If my husband were here, he would be smiling all over the place," she said. "I know it's a good Thanksgiving."