Articles February 5, 2016

Sunnyvale: Many hands band together to give resident a new home

Source: Mercury News

For one family, Super Bowl 50 changed their lives before the game even started. Longtime Sunnyvale resident Ronnie Richardson, his granddaughter Liz and her children Reyna and Alonzo have an almost entirely new home in time to watch the big game. Rebuilding Together and its Bay Area affiliate completely overhauled Richardson’s dilapidated home. About 60 volunteers came out Jan. 30 to put the finishing touches on a thorough home remodel.

Richardson, 77, and his late wife Patty couldn’t keep up with the costs of maintenance in such an expensive area , but in 2014 they applied to Rebuilding Together’s annual National Rebuilding Day. Richardson said Patty’s final wish before her death last year was that the house be fixed up. He added that his family is “really pleased with what’s been done. It’s a tremendous blessing. One person would’ve taken a long, long time to do all of this. Maybe it wouldn’t even be possible to do the whole house alone; it’s very hard to do.”

The rebuild of the Richardson home was part of “Kickoff to Rebuild,” an annual Super Bowl-sanctioned event hosted by Rebuilding Together. For the past 21 years the event has helped renovate homes in Super Bowl cities across the country. The project was one of Rebuilding Together Peninsula’s biggest and required the help of volunteers, corporate donations and Level 10 Construction, which did the structural work. Level 10 started planning the renovation in November, but actual work on the property started Jan. 1. The project was a major undertaking, according to organizers.

“When [Richardson] applied to us, we came and saw it and knew they needed the help, but literally this house was in such bad shape we shopped it around to all of our contracting partners and none of them wanted to take it on because of the time commitment and investment it was going to take,” said Rebuilding Together Peninsula development director Annel Aguayo. “We knew we could use the Super Bowl 50 platform to our advantage, and it has worked. The Kickoff to Rebuild platform is what allowed us the opportunity to take on a house of this size, a project of this size.”

The walls were taken down and the house was stripped down to the studs. The house was in such bad shape that the once pink walls were gray from mold and the owner kept a vacuum by the shower to suck up the water that wouldn’t go down the damaged plumbing. Multiple windows were broken and the roof was leaking. The home received entirely new walls, plumbing and a roof. New electric work was done and a new foundation needed to be poured because the floor was slanted due to dry rot. In order to do the total overhaul, materials were donated from various local companies such as new bathroom tiles from De Anza Tile and $15,000 from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Clark Pest Control did fumigation earlier this week.

Together, all of the work done to the house is estimated at $284,000 and was completed in less than a month. “Just a lot of people and organizations pitched in. It was just a big blessing from the sky. It was the most valuable prayer that ever happened to me and came true,” said Richardson.

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