Alice Reed was one of the three Renton residents who had house repairs done by Rebuilding Together. (Leah Abraham | Renton Reporter)

Organization helps seniors prep homes for winter

Rebuilding Together Seattle helped repair three Renton residents’s homes in time for winter.

Alice Reed remembers when she first moved into her house on Smithers Avenue back when she was 8 years old. She remembers walking to Renton High School when she was a teenager, and she remembers when she left briefly after being married before coming back home in 1990.

“I grew up here,” Reed, now 72, said looking around her cluttered house fondly. “My kids say it’s not worth it.”

But the house holds sentimental value to her and she isn’t interested in parting ways. But an aging house means there are many repairs that are needed, including painting interior and exterior of the house, bathroom wiring, raising back porch and building a new fence in the back.

“The front of the house was very chipped,” she said. “You could see the wood underneath. It’s about three years since I’ve tried to get it done. And it was already winter time, and we haven’t gotten it done.”

That’s when Reed heard about Rebuilding Together Seattle.

Rebuilding Together Seattle is a nonprofit that provides free home repairs for low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities. They serve the elderly, disabled, families with children, and veterans in need. Since 1989. They have restored 1,550 homes and nonprofit facilities in the greater Seattle area. The past fiscal year, they repaired homes for 175 families.

The organization mobilized almost 50 volunteers from Lowe’s on Dec. 1 to renovate and restore three Renton houses before the winter time, including Reed’s and Nita Olson’s.

Olson has been living in her home on Burnett Avenue South for 35 years. She lost her husband earlier in the summer. The Lowe’s team was able to repairs her ceiling, install a fence for security and secure kitchen wiring to help make her daily life comfortable, especially during the winter months.

“It feels good to be helping other people,” said one of the volunteers.

Reed, who lives with a roommate, is also glad to be living more comfortably in her renovated home. As the volunteers painted her kitchen and fixed her porch, Reed looked out of her window curiously. She stepped outside to see her new fence and porch, but ended up chatting and joking with the volunteers.

“It means a lot,” said Reed. “I can’t do that kind of stuff, and it makes the family happy.”

To apply for assistance through the Rebuilding Together program, download the application at or call 206-682-1231 to have an application sent by mail.

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