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When Pastor Clay McQuerry moved back to Missouri, he saw a need in the Northland. He had previously worked with a national organization called Christmas in April that provided services to seniors, veterans, low-income families and people with disabilities.

On a single day each April, thousands of volunteers worked to make home improvements and modifications that helped the elderly remain living at home and age in place by providing free services. In 2001, McQuerry founded what is known today as Rebuilding Together Kansas City.

Since its inception, RTKC has worked with 6,900 volunteers repairing more than 900 homes with a repair value of $3 million. Their typical clients are low- to medium-income homeowners, veterans and seniors who don’t have funds available for urgent repairs or safety modifications. In 2018, two-thirds of their clients had incomes averaging $17,946 annually.

RTKC strives to help Northland residents live independently and safely at home and in their communities. They have two programs to accomplish this mission: Rebuilding Day and Safe at Home.

Rebuilding Day is a one-day blitz that utilizes hundreds of volunteers to assist with free repairs on homes in their community. Applications are received throughout the year and volunteer crew leaders meet in July to select their houses. In one day, they will complete essential repairs on 20 to 25 homes.

As a communitywide organization, anyone can volunteer to help with repairs, and the volunteers who assist with repairs see the instant impact of helping people stay in their homes.

Since 2011, the city of Gladstone has been involved with and supported Rebuilding Together KC through the Gladstone Economic Betterment Council and the Gladstone Neighbors Helping Neighbors program. RTKC Board President and City of Gladstone Community Development Administrator Alan Napoli has volunteered to assist with the planning, building and permits needed for these homes for the past six years. RTKC’s 2020 Rebuilding Day will be Saturday, Sept. 19.

Safe at Home is a year-round program that provides safety modifications that allow homeowners to age in place and increase their independence. These modifications include installation of grab bars, handrails, taller toilets, accessible showers, modified steps and wheelchair ramps. The program also assists with urgent needs like air conditioner and furnace systems that go out or faulty plumbing.

The fees for these services are based on a client’s financial ability using a standardized sliding co-pay scale.

In 2013, RTKC opened the RT Store, a home improvement outlet store dedicated to recycling, reusing and repurposing building materials. All proceeds support RTKC community service programs.

Rebuilding Together KC is a nonprofit organization that depends on the support of the community. With your help, they can provide more safe homes for neighbors in your community.

This article is part of an ongoing monthly series from the city of Gladstone about home maintenance, codes and other city issues.