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Sold – Sold – Sold !!!

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County (RTMC) teamed up with exceptional builders to craft unique and exciting playhouses that delight and inspire the little ones in our lives. These extravagant, detailed, high-quality playhouses were talk of the neighborhood – and were up for bid on Saturday, June 18th at Rebuilding Hope: The RTMC Playhouse Project. At RTMC’s 3rd annual event, more than  100 guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers while supporting Rebuilding Together and the community investment made to preserve affordable housing, prevent homelessness and provide hope for some of our county’s most vulnerable residents.

While walking the Plaza at The Shops at Wisconsin Place, guests previewed all 7 playhouses on display, 3 of which had already been pre-sold!

Co-emcees for the night, Dawn Gontkovic and Councilmember Craig Rice, provided opening remarks and kept the crowd entertained before the playhouse bidding began. RTMC’s Executive Director, Christina Johnson, was presented with a check from Whole Foods’s Carrie Coonan which represented their purchase of two playhouses. One of those playhouses, which is Pepco’s “MiniShed” , is a green house built with sustainable materials, featuring a solar powered roof, allowing for rainwater harvesting and boasting elevated planter beds. Whole Foods has agreed to generously donate this playhouse to a STEM school within the Montgomery County Public School system. Whole Foods will donate the other playhouse, Mother Earth’s cabin, to local nonprofit CentroNia.

Special thanks were delivered to Whole Foods Market and TW Perry, who were both presenting sponsors for this year’s event.  Special recognition was given to Jeffrey Slavin, Mayor of the Town of Somerset by Family Services, Inc.’s Scott Birdsong. FSI recognized Mr. Slavin for his generous donation of a playhouse two years ago and has since been placed at an FSI childcare facilities in Montgomery County.

When Auctioneer Lia Kvatum brought the gavel down for the final winning bid, 4 uniquely designed and custom-built children’s playhouses were auctioned off and another successful playhouse project came to an end, raising more than $70,000 for RTMC’s great work in the community!

Rebuilding Together would like to thank all of its long-time Playhouse Project sponsors, all of its new sponsors and all of the in-kind partners that helped make this event a huge success!

Join Us at RTMC’s Reception & Live Playhouse Auction

It’s that time of year again and Rebuilding Together Montgomery County(RTMC) is hosting its bi-annual fundraiser, Rebuilding Hope: The RTMC Playhouse Reception and Live Auction is on Saturday, June 18th from 7-9PM.

Every other year, RTMC auctions off amazing, custom-built playhouses to parents, grandparents, and local philanthropists committed to serving out community’s most vulnerable residents.

Please join us at this event and consider supporting it either as a donor or as a playhouse purchaser.

To date, RTMC’s successfully, raised $40,000.00 by pre-selling 3 out of the 7 playhouses that are now on the plaza!!!

There are four remaining playhouses on the market – “The Chalet” built by C. M. Conlan Contractors & Builders Inc., “The Hobbit House” built by Harkins Builders, “Friendship Station” built by Sandy Spring Builders, and “The Accessible Sand Castle” built by ProHome Contractors and Accessible Home Associates & Levine Design Studio. Each are housed on the plaza at Western & Wisconsin Avenue, pictured below, and featured on the playhouse website.

Rebuilding Together Playhouse delivery to Wisconsin Place

Houses sell typically sell at auction for $6500-$15,000.00.

By purchasing a playhouse, you’re not only investing in an amazing play space for children to enjoy for years to come, but you’re also providing help and hope for other families at the same time!

If you can’t purchase a playhouse, we’d still love for you to share this event with friends, and/or join us for an evening of fun, friends and community impact.

The Challenges of Aging-In-Place

by Caroline Blakely, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together

In The New York Times piece “Aging in Place” columnist Jane E. Brody discusses the very real considerations that homeowners must take into account as they age. She brings up many valid points regarding the barriers to aging-in-place for older homeowners, and provides some great recourse and ideas for facing those challenges. However, as we continue the conversation around the housing crisis facing our aging population, it is vital that we also consider the aging-in-place needs of individuals with limited income.

According to the National Council on Aging, more than 25 million Americans aged 60 and older are considered economically insecure – living at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. For older homeowners, and estimated 3.5 million are underwater on home loans and have no home equity. For these individuals, retirement communities are prohibitively expensive, and moving in with family members may not always be a valid recourse for a variety of reasons ranging from lacking financial resources to limited space in their relatives’ homes. Oftentimes, aging-in-place is the only recourse for these homeowners, and the equity built into their home remains their greatest, and perhaps only, source of wealth.

America is undoubtedly facing a housing crisis, especially when it comes to older adults. Over the course of the next two decades, the number of adults aged 70 or older will increase by 91 percent, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. This exponential spike will create a demand for housing that is both affordable, and equipped to accommodate aging-in-place residents. Housing that checks both those boxes is scant.

America’s aging housing stock is not equipped to handle the needs of its rapidly aging population. Simply put, most homes were not designed with older adults in mind. Steep staircases, too-narrow doorways and other basic housing features pose serious safety risks to older homeowners.

Aging in modern America is also a costly process, particularly as many Americans lack sufficient retirement savings to cover the cost of healthcare and other necessary expenses. Overburdened by these costs, millions of aging homeowners simply cannot afford to hire someone to make their homes more accessible through aging-in-place modifications. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, 80 percent of aging-related home modifications are paid for out-of-pocket, posing “a significant obstacle to aging-in-place for the poorest elderly, who have both the highest levels of disability and tend to live in older housing stock.”

This is why the work of organizations like Rebuilding Together is so urgently-needed. Rebuilding Together is a leading, national nonprofit working with low-income homeowners to improve the safety and health of their homes. Each year, Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide.

Rebuilding Together’s services help preserve affordable homeownership and stabilize neighborhoods, empowering homeowners and their families to remain in their homes and communities.

Older adults make up the majority of homeowners served by Rebuilding Together. In 2015 alone, we worked with volunteers, partners and local community organizations across the country to provide safe and healthy home repairs and modifications for more than 5,400 homes with occupants aged 62 or older. These homeowners have lived in their homes on average more than 20 years, and want to stay put.

By installing handrails, grab bars, easy-to-operate handles and switches, nonslip flooring and improved lighting, we increase home accessibility and allow low-income older homeowners to be safer and more independent. This not only empowers them to remain in their homes, it is also cost-effective in the long term. According to the Center for Hosing Policy, studies on Medicaid expenditures have found that providing care and supportive services in peoples’ home, as opposed to a nursing home or retirement facility, resulted in savings of $22,588-$49,078 annually per individual.

As we continue the conversation around the housing crisis facing our aging population, it is critically important that we consider the aging-in-place needs of individuals with limited income, and ensure they are included in every solution that is discussed.



Life-Sized Eco-Sustainable Playhouses to Grace The Shops at Wisconsin Place Plaza


Contact: Aaron Gonzales

301-947-9400 x101

(Gaithersburg, MD–May 2016) Life-sized playhouses that incorporate ecologically sound, sustainable, and accessible design elements will be on display on The Plaza at The Shops at Wisconsin Place in Chevy Chase, MD from May 28 to June 24, 2016. The playhouses will be displayed throughout The Plaza and can be seen from the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Western Avenue N.W.

The Playhouse Project is a fun and unique fundraiser. It involves the displaying of and auctioning of seven elaborate children’s playhouses. All funds from the auction and from associated fundraising will go to Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, a nonprofit organization that provides free critical repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and accessibility modifications for low-income homeowners in Montgomery County.

All seven of the playhouses for sale were visualized and built by local builders and craftspeople that donate their time throughout the year on rebuilding and renovation projects (through RTMC). Each playhouse has been skillfully constructed to withstand the elements and rigors of children at play while at the same time, maintain the sense of wonder that is implicit in public art installations. This year’s playhouses and builders include:

  • Sandy Springs Station, built by Sandy Springs Builders
  • Mother Earth’s Cabin, built by Sustainable Design Group
  • Hobbit House, built by Harkins Builders
  • MiNi-Shed, built by Pepco Holdings, Maryland Custom Builders, Inc., and Grid Architects
  • Accessible Sandcastle, built by Pro Home Contractor, Levine Design Studio, Fann, and Accessible Home Associates
  • Wendy’s Shoreline House, built by DG Liu Contractor Inc.
  • Mountain Chalet, built by CM Conlan Contractors & Builders, Inc.

Plans and drawings of the playhouses can be seen at: http://rebuilding-hope.org/

Rebuilding Hope: The RTMC Playhouse Project will culminate in a ticketed cocktail reception and live auction from 7:00-9:00 PM on Saturday, June 18, 2016 on The Plaza at The Shops at Wisconsin Place.  A limited number of tickets have been for sale since the beginning of April 2016. Attendees of this event must be over the age of 21. Advanced purchases of the elaborate playhouses will be available through the website listed above beginning on May 30. In addition, proxy bidding will be accepted on the evening of the live auction. Call 301-947-9400 x101 for more information on how to arrange for a proxy bidder.


Rebuilding Together Montgomery County is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that provides free critical home repairs, accessibility modifications, and energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homeowners and community centers. Our impact extends beyond the individuals we serve by revitalizing and stabilizing vulnerable neighborhoods and communities throughout the county. Since its founding, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County has provided more than 2,000 families with $18.4 million in home repair services, mobilizing more than 47,000 volunteers to help our neighbors in need. For more information, visit www.rebuilding-hope.org or contact Aaron Gonzales by email, agonzales@rebuildingtogethermc.org, or phone, 301-947-9400 x101.





RTMC Announces New Partnership with Whole Foods Market!

Gaithersburg, MD (May 19, 2016) – Rebuilding Together Montgomery County (RTMC), a nonprofit housing organization based in Gaithersburg, announced today that it has entered into a new partnership with Whole Foods Market. The two organizations will work together to provide support to low-income residents in need of home repair assistance and promote childhood education on sustainability and healthy eating practices. To kick off the partnership, Whole Foods will sponsor a 5% day on Wednesday, May 25th to support Rebuilding Hope: The RTMC Playhouse Project. Whole Foods will donate 5% of all sales at all five Montgomery County locations to RTMC to purchase sustainable playhouses being built by Pepco Holdings and Sustainable Design Group.

“This project was especially appealing to us because it so closely aligns with our core values around supporting local communities,” said Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Regional President Scott Allshouse. “We like to say that our stores are like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike. These one-of-a-kind play spaces reflect that same concept. Each child in Montgomery County deserves to have a place to play that ignites their imaginations for what is possible.”

Rebuilding Together is a nationwide home rehabilitation organization serving the most vulnerable low-income members of our population – the elderly, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and families with young children. RTMC is a member affiliate of this network and provides services to Montgomery County residents. Every two years, RTMC hosts Rebuilding Hope: The RTMC Playhouse Project, a fun and unique fundraiser that engages local teams of builders, architects, remodelers, and designers to design, build, and donate unique playhouses that are then auctioned to support RTMC. One of the playhouses being purchased by Whole Foods Market will be donated to CentroNia, a local education nonprofit, to support their early childhood programs in Takoma Park. The other will be donated to Wheaton Woods Elementary and incorporated into the school’s STEM program after its grand re-opening in the fall of 2017.

“We are thrilled to be launching a long-term partnership with Whole Foods Market, a company whose civic-minded corporate citizenship benefits millions each year,” said Christina B. Johnson, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. “Their focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship is a natural fit for our organization given our focus on reducing our clients’ energy costs and carbon footprint, and our mission to preserve affordable and sustainable housing throughout Montgomery County.”

The playhouses will be on display on the plaza at The Shops at Wisconsin Place beginning Saturday, May 28.  The event will culminate with a reception and auction on Saturday, June 18 beginning at 7 PM.

About Rebuilding Together Montgomery County

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that provides free critical home repairs, accessibility modifications, and energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homeowners and community centers. Our impact extends beyond the individuals we serve by revitalizing and stabilizing vulnerable neighborhoods and communities throughout the county. Since its founding, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County has provided more than 2,000 families with $18.4 million in home repair services, mobilizing more than 47,000 volunteers to help our neighbors in need. To learn more, visit us at www.rebuildingtogethermc.org.

Recordation Tax

mcpsToday, the Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted a bill that will generate funding for additional school construction, County government projects and affordable housing. This is a huge win for Nancy Floreen, a sponsor of the legislation (which will raise about $200 million more than what the County Executive originally proposed over the next six years), Montgomery County Public Schools and the entire community.

Although we can all benefit from additional funding for schools and affordable housing, this bill will also provide rental assistance for low-income residents. While Council President Floreen understands that nobody likes the idea of increasing taxes, she enforces that “our needs are great, and the recordation tax is the most progressive approach to meet the needs our residents have clearly identified as their top priorities”. She also claims that “the recordation tax is just one piece of what I call an ‘education first’ budget that will finally give our students some long-overdue relief.” We thank all of the County Council for working tirelessly and collaboratively to determine a smart solution for generating the needed capital.

The Council’s action on Expedited Bill 15-16 generates about $200 million in Fiscal Years 2017-22 for capital projects, mostly for school capacity and building improvements, despite having to close a shortfall in State aid of more than $24 million. Also, about $5 million in additional revenue will be allocated annually for rental assistance to low and moderate income households.

The recordation tax is paid only when properties are sold or refinanced. The seller and buyer divide the cost evenly if there is no contractual agreement regarding the recordation tax payment. For first-time homebuyers, the seller pays the recordation tax, if there is no alternative agreement in the contract.

Expedited Bill 15-16 will increase the basic rate of the Recordation Tax by $1 per $500 in the sale or refinancing and the Recordation Tax Premium by $0.75 per $500 in the sale or refinancing.

The Tax Premium only applies to sales and refinancing above $500,000. To make the rate change more progressive, the Council raised the exemption for homebuyers from $50,000 to $100,000 for owner occupied homes. For example, the recordation tax on a $300,000 home would rise from $1,725 to $1,780, an increase of $55 (3.2 percent). The Council also delayed the implementation date of the bill to Sept. 1, 2016.

The funds raised by the rate change in the School Increment will be dedicated to MCPS capital projects. The new funds will allow the Council to add nearly $170 million to accommodate school capacity and building improvement needs.

For more information about Expedited Bill 15-16 , click here.



Volunteer Appreciation Day

“Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.” -Author Unknown

The board and staff Rebuilding Together Montgomery County would like to thank all volunteers for donating their precious time to our mission driven work. The difficult, yet vital work that you all do does not go unnoticed. Every volunteer leaves a long lasting, positive impact on the individuals that they serve, which is why we appreciate you all so much.

On May 15th, the RTMC team and more than 150 volunteers watched the Nationals play against the Marlins at the Nationals Park. Although it was unseasonably cold, windy, the Nationals lost, we still enjoyed ourselves. You all are such an essential part of our organization. The passion and dedication that you all bring to each and every home repair really assists RTMC in helping those in need in a way that is both impactful and efficient.

Thank you for you dedication to our homeowners in need. Keep an eye out for the next Volunteer Appreciation Event!

Playhouse Project

The Rebuilding Together Montgomery County Playhouse Reception and Live Auction is steadily approaching! This year’s Playhouse Project is bigger than ever before. The RTMC Playhouse Project is a fundraiser that is designed to help our organization continue maintaining affordable housing by servicing vital home repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of low-income residents in Montgomery County.

This year’s project involves the displaying and auctioning of seven unique playhouses. With two our our playhouses pre-sold to Whole Foods and one to a private buyer, the four remaining playhouses will be in high- demand.

Click here to learn more about our partnership with Whole Foods Market.

Everyone is encouraged to come to The Shops at Wisconsin Place on the eighteenth of June from 7:00 to 9:30 PM for a fun night of live entertainment, hilarious entertainment, good drinks, and good food. Get your tickets today to this fun-filled event before they sell out. Plus, it is for a good cause!

Special Thanks to our food sponsors: La Madeleine, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, The Capital Grille, Whole Foods Market and Mamma Lucia.


Catalogue for Philanthropy

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County has recently been selected to be a featured in the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s 2016/2017 edition. The Catalogue for Philanthropy works to bring awareness to small charities and notable non-profits that promote good throughout the community. All nonprofits included in the Catalogue are chosen by a group of more than 100 assessors who judge the organizations’ quality of programs, leadership and impact.

To find out more about The Catalogue of Philanthropy, click here. 

It is a great honor to be featured in the catalogue among other nonprofit organizations who provide a wide variety of services, from youth education and enrichment, to the arts, to basic needs, food and housing. Our feature in the Catalogue for Philanthropy will also open us up to many new opportunities—selected nonprofits are given access to training opportunities and valuable communications tools. This will only stimulate our growth and our perpetuate our ability to positively impact those in need.

Please share the great news on Facebook.


Launch of The Handyman Program

After months of careful planning and resource development work, we are proud to announce RTMC’s Hawk Handyman Program! This County Council grant-funded program gives those with experience in a variety of trades the opportunity to use their skills in a way that helps low-income homeowners in Montgomery County. The free services that our volunteer handymen provide will take care of small, but important repairs before they turn into larger, more expensive problems. Typically, those in need of minor home repairs spend a greater amount of time on our waitlist than those with more critical needs, resulting in a higher risk that their issues will get worse. If implemented correctly, the Volunteer Handyman Program should decrease the amount of time each of our clients waits for handyman services by 30%. In addition, the program will also increase the number of handyman repairs completed semi-annually by 260%.

The County Council grant along with donations from both DHCA funding and the Pettit Family Foundation will help enable RTMC to hire a full-time handyman in Q1 FY17. A step in the right direction, The Volunteer Handyman program will further reinforce everything that our mission statement by allowing us to aid more families each year while making sure that our own neighbors do not have to face losing their homes. For more information, please contact Lianna Harbeson at 301-947-9400 (ext. 102) or lharbeson@rebuildingtogethermc.org.

Many thanks to the generous investments of our partners and the long time volunteer handymen who have tirelessly served our mission.