RTWC, Affordable Housing, & Alden Potter

Alden 1

Rebuilding Together Washington County (RTWC) has been around since 1994. The mission to keep people safe, warm, dry, and living independently in their own homes remains the same.  Or, as RTWC’s project manager Alden Potter, “We help people who otherwise would not be able to help themselves.”

RTWC’s work may not have changed, but Portland has. We are in a housing crisis. All around we are hearing conversations, reading news, and hopefully seeing increased legislation about affordable housing. These conversations have a tendency to revolve around renters but homeowners and RTWC are also affected by the rising costs of living.

RTWC is working to keep low-income families in their homes, and that isn’t always easy. Alden visits homes every day with repairs ranging from tightening a handrail, installing grab bars, building ramps, to repairing roofs and everything in between.   In Alden’s words, “We make homes at least livable again. Otherwise the homeowners may not have a place they can live.”

While our work is the same, the increase in volume of applicants can be overwhelming. Rebuilding Together started providing home repair one day a year and is now providing as many repairs as we have resources for.  We cannot tell you how many people who would have had to move to permanent care facilities, in with families, or become homeless, if repairs were not made. Alden Potter can tell you that the people we help are the best part of the job. “They are very nice and appreciative of what we do. The people I get to work with are very happy, supportive and have wonderful attitude. They have been great to be around.”

There are hard parts, though. “The hardest part is coming up to a project where the home is so deteriorated that we have to step away.” Whether it be due to years of disrepair or poor, cheap construction work to begin with, resources are limited and there are some homes just too damaged for RTWC to repair. But it never ceases to amaze us of just how much work we do get done and the exceptional volunteers that make it all possible.

There may be no visible light at the end of the housing crisis tunnel yet, but RTWC and Alden, will continue to provide safe, warm, dry, and independent housing repairs. “We are doing our best to fulfill our mission statement. We help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to help themselves. We make homes livable again.”

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