Melissa Diaz

Ms. Diaz, a third-generation homeowner, lives in a modest 73-year old house in West Long Beach with her two daughters and year-old grandson. At one time, she thought the home had a single problem: Because the original furnace was inoperable, the home was too cold for her grandson; while insulation throughout seemed the logical and affordable solution, it turned out that the original electrical system would likely catch fire if insulation were added. Fortunately, she received insurance money that was adequate for the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, the contractor she hired started the work, but instead of completing the job, he absconded with the insurance proceeds, exacerbated the electrical issues, and left holes in ceilings and walls throughout the home to boot.

At her wit’s end and lacking resources, Ms. Diaz turned to Rebuilding Together Long Beach for help; and we at RTLB turned to Charter Communications for excellent financial and person-power support. As a result, RTLB was thrilled to participate, for the second year in a row, in the “Charter our Community” program of Charter Communications. This partnership allowed employee volunteers from Charter to work hand-in-hand with skilled volunteers from RTLB’s Management Team to ameliorate the most serious problems in Ms. Diaz’s home. The scope of work included major electrical repairs, tree removal, fence repair, general debris removal and yard cleanup, interior drywall repair, interior painting, exterior wall repair and painting.

The day began with a tearfully emotional “Thank you, thank you, thank you” from Ms. Diaz to all of the volunteers who would be giving their time and their energy to bettering living conditions for her and her family. At midday, Long Beach City Council Member Robert Uranga visited to express his gratitude to both Charter and RTLB for their efforts to assist the Diaz family. Throughout the day, the Charter folks, along with members of RTLB’s Management Team, used the nearby Webster Elementary School parking lot as a base from which to distribute 230 “Safe & Healthy Home” kits (provided by Lowe’s) all over the neighborhood. At day’s end, with tears in her eyes, Ms. Diaz pointed out that, while all the volunteers could be at home with their families bar-be-queing or going to the beach, instead they were all at her house, helping her and her family; she couldn’t stop thanking each and every volunteer.

The amalgamation of the completion of free home repairs and the distribution of free Safe & Healthy Home kits visibly and vividly exemplified both Charter our Community’s mission: “improving communities, impacting lives” and RTLB’s mission: "Together we transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing our communities." What better way to spend a Saturday?

You can view a video of the event, produced by Charter, on YouTube:

Some "before" pictures:

Registration and Instructions

Work in Progress:

The only proper way to hold a paint roller . . .

Council Member Robert Uranga, with Charter’s Brian Anderson

The Charter Volunteers

The Safe & Healthy Home Kit