Our neighbors are the faces of RTP – the folks that welcome us into their homes and enable us to do purposeful work that improves not only the condition of their housing, but the communities where they live, and the safety and vibrancy of their daily lives.
Patricia has owned her home in McKees Rocks for 16 years. She was selected to receive services from Rebuilding Together in 2020, but her project has been postponed due to COVID-19. When we are able, we will return to Patricia’s home to complete much-needed repairs that will improve functionality and accessibility. In the interim, our Programs team has connected her with social services and food access programs that will help her shelter in place during the pandemic. Patricia agreed to answer a few of our questions about her experience with RTP and in coping with social distancing measures in general.
(Responses have been edited for clarity).
Life changed for all of us this March. I’d like to take a few moments to remember with you what life was like at the beginning of this year. What did a normal day feel like to you?
“I decided to go back to school this year; I started in February. The virus has put a stop to all my plans. I can’t go to school now and I’m stuck in the house. I ache as it is and sitting around just makes it worse. It took so long to decide what to do with myself, and now this happened! Working online is difficult with my limited experience with technology. I’d go to tutors at the school before, who were experienced in helping older persons. My son has been helping when he’s able, but he’s young and doesn’t have the same patience.”
What do you miss most from those days?
“Going to school! I’m a people person and I like being out and about, getting on the bus to go see people.”
What concerned you most as the COVID-19 crisis gained momentum?
“I’ve been most concerned about my 79-year-old diabetic mother who lives in Oakland. I also worry about my health because I have COPD and arthritis, and my immune system is low because of the medications I’m on.”
How has social distancing affected you most?
“It’s very difficult to get to the grocery store; getting food and getting to my doctor on the bus now is just impossible. I have to depend on other people to get things for me, and I’m not used to that. Going to school got me on my feet and out of the house. Coronavirus and having to stay home more has made my body ache more.”
What has RTP done that has been most helpful to you?
“I was so worried about getting food—my son’s car had broken down, so he wasn’t able to help me get what I needed—but Jule (Client Relations Coordinator at RTP) called me right on time. I have all the groceries I need now. I have something to eat. The people who have come have been so polite. If I could let them in and hug them I would! They also connected me to the Lawrenceville United Buddy Program so that I could get some of the things I needed that I couldn’t get from the food boxes. Jule calls to check in on me regularly. I won’t forget that, ever—to have someone call and make sure that I’m okay during this time, it means a lot.”
Even though this is a difficult time for people, what keeps you going each day?
“My friends and the people I’m meeting keep me going, my neighbors and my family. I look forward to when people come to make these deliveries. You know I’m the type of person that is always looking out for other people. I’m so appreciative to have someone else looking after me during this time.”
If you are wondering how to help out your neighbors, RTP has a ton of ways to get involved!
Home repairs completed
Support Safe & Healthy Housing
Our ability to stay safe at home is largely dependent on the quality of our housing. Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh delivers home repairs to our neighbors who need it most.
Special thanks to our partners
Through their support and collaboration, we are capable of providing and facilitating comprehensive care to low-income homeowners and their families.