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Our Stories

This is Joe and Anne

  This is the back porch at Joe and Ann’s rowhouse, that backs onto their neighborhood park.
There is a ten-foot drop from the porch to the ground. As you can see, the railing was loose. When Joe, who is 88, takes out the trash, he drops it from the porch down to the trash cans because it is hard for him to lug the trash bag down the stairs.  This was a pretty normal routine for Joe until one day, the railing gave way and he fell off the porch. So scary! Fortunately, Joe was not hurt in the fall. But, he did fall a couple more times before Joe and Ann learned that Rebuilding Together was working in their neighborhood. They applied for our services and were accepted into our “Building a Healthy Neighborhood” program. Last month, dozens of volunteers descended on Joe and Ann’s house to fix the scary railings and MUCH MUCH more.

In addition to the porch railing, they also did the following:
  • Installed and repaired handrails on interior stairs
  • Installed grab bars in the bathroom
  • Painted front porch columns and railings
  • Repaired front porch roof
  • Corrected hazardous electrical issues
  • Installed new lighting
  • Replaced the kitchen flooring

And we even gave the neighborhood park a makeover!

Joe and Ann have lived in their home for over 30 years. Joe is a veteran who served in the Army in his younger years, and then served in the reserves after he left active duty. Joe and Ann both worked hard all their lives, and raised four children. Like all the homeowners we work with, they want to stay in their home and in their community as they grow older. They are both retired now and are only receiving social security for income. They just can’t physically or financially keep up with the home repair needs. Joe used to do all the repairs in the home, and was quite handy. However, he now has physical limitations that make it very difficult to do any of the necessary home maintenance.

We asked Joe how he felt about the repairs that were provided. He shared that “it was very needed. I used to do it myself, but I can’t anymore”.
“This all came as a huge surprise to me”

Said Gwendolyn Graves, astounded and extremely grateful when our team members informed her that we would be providing repairs to her home.  Like many other homes in the Govans area, Mrs. Graves’ house shows signs of aging.  After her husband passed, and she was laid off, she struggled to keep up with essential repairs and maintenance that will help her to age in place.

Mrs. Graves arrived in Baltimore at the young age of 19.  She is now 65 years old.  She left Durham, North Carolina after completing her first year of college to work a summer job here in Baltimore, but she never returned home.  A temporary living arrangement quickly transitioned to a lifetime adjustment.  In 1981, Mrs. Graves and her late husband purchased this home.  In her thirty-five years of living in Mid-Govans, Mrs.  Graves has observed a lot of changes.  Overtime, transient neighbors and the decline in homeownership has weakened communication between people.  In spite of this, Mrs. Graves’s outlook on the community remains optimistic:

“I like Baltimore.  I’m very comfortable here.  My sister wants me to move back to North Carolina and I’m like “hmmmm, maybe”.

When asked what has kept her in this neighborhood, Mrs. Graves expresses gratitude and disappointment, but most of all, she looks forward to change in the future.  Her response follows:

“The bottom line is, my kids grew up here… It was also the ideal location. My children’s school was always a half a block away and the easy transportation down into the city, where I worked. ”

Mrs. Graves describes herself as the “DIY-lady”.

“I love to do DIY projects!”

She enjoys gardening, crafting, sewing, hiking, and cooking.  Mrs. Graves loves to be active and “hands-on” with repairs around her home.  On the volunteer project day, Mrs. Graves eagerly participated alongside a group of volunteers who worked in her home. After having a positive experience with the volunteers, Mrs. Graves expressed that she would love to volunteer with Rebuilding Together Baltimore on future projects in the community.  She hopes that one of her two sons or maybe one of her six grandchildren will be able to inherit this home one day in good condition.  Mrs. Graves truly believes that our service to her will absolutely help make that happen!

“I wasn’t expecting any of it, but I’m ready! I just wish my husband was here to witness this”.



This video profiles the three small businesses that received renovations from RTB.  Many thanks to our partners at Wells Fargo, Gensler, and the Urban League for making this such a great experience!







Rebuilding Together Baltimore
5820 York Road, Suite T300
Baltimore, MD 21212
Phone: (410) 889-2710
Fax: (443) 586-0785

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