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Help with home improvements in Evanston

'Rebuilding Together' draws University volunteers to help families in need

EVANSTON - Northwestern University’s Facilities Management department, in collaboration with the University’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations and the City of Evanston, undertook a variety of projects Saturday to repair the homes of families in need.

On April 28, an army of Northwestern volunteers helped build one family an accessibility ramp, rebuilt fallen porches and made much-needed repairs for under-served families across Evanston.

The projects were done in partnership with Rebuilding Together North Suburban Chicago.

“Our neighbors, especially those on fixed incomes and with special needs, just want to be able to live in their homes. Most of them have been in their homes for decades and have helped raise generations,” said John D’Angelo, vice president for facilities management at Northwestern.

“Those neighbors are the anchors of our Evanston community,” he said. “Northwestern and the City of Evanston couldn’t be prouder partnering with Rebuilding Together to keep our community strong.”

"Our neighbors, especially those on fixed incomes and with special needs, just want to be able to live in their homes." - John D'Angelo, VP for facilities management

One of the projects involved building a ramp for a family whose son was injured and now uses a wheelchair. It was the third accessibility ramp the group has constructed in the last three years. Other projects volunteers helped with on Saturday included the removal of overgrown vines that had damaged the brickwork at a nearby home, and the restoration of a family’s front yard after it had been damaged by a broken water pipe.

“Northwestern was a great partner. They raise a ton of money and bring a lot of volunteers,” said Erika Storlie, assistant city manager of the City of Evanston. “We do projects that are out of the scope and magnitude of what we normally get to do.”

“Our goal is to really be just a good neighbor. I think our community is stronger when we work together,” said Alan Anderson, executive director of neighborhood and community relations at Northwestern University.

Rebuilding Together North Suburban Chicago is a nonprofit group that repairs and improves homes in need at no cost to homeowners. It works in 14 northern Illinois communities, completing more than 50 projects a year. The group draws on a network of more than 600 skilled and unskilled volunteers and receives support from contractors, local businesses and civic and faith-based organizations.