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Local trade unions renovate homes for free

Rebuilding Together's annual Skilled Trades Day helps fix up homes for free. //WSBT 22 Photo
Rebuilding Together's annual Skilled Trades Day helps fix up homes for free. //WSBT 22 Photo
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On Saturday hundreds of skilled union trade workers hit the streets of Michiana, volunteering their time to help homeowners in need.

It was Rebuilding Together's annual Skilled Trades Day.

Diane Miller is one of the homeowners benefiting from the program.

She has lived in her home for over 40 years and wants to stay there.

"I just enjoy living here. I've been here for so long," says Miller. "I think it's hard to kind of adjust if I would have to move on, move on to another place."

Thanks to the help of the volunteers, Miller won't have to move.

She got a new roof, new plumbing, a new water heater, and new light fixtures all for free.

There were forty volunteers working on Miller's house alone and over 300 volunteers throughout the county.

Rebuilding Together president Jim Sheetz says the volunteers enjoy giving back to their community.

"The homeowners, they're very good people," says Sheetz, "They own their own home, have insurance, pay taxes. They just need a little hand getting these repairs done."

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says the work helps the city as a whole.

"If this makes it a little easier for someone who is a pillar in their neighborhood to stay in their home, especially when you have these seniors who really take pride in their houses and look after them, that makes the whole neighborhood better off," says Buttigieg.

This year fourteen homes were renovated.

In the last 28 years, over 600 houses in total have been worked on by Rebuilding Together in St Joe county.

Miller is grateful her home is now part of that number.

"I'm just so grateful that I got selected this year. I couldn't believe it actually. It took a minute to sink in that I was selected into this program," says Miller. "It's saving me dramatically to be able to stay in this house longer which is what I wanted."

Local trade unions that participated today include: Plumbers Local 172, Sheet Metal Local 20, Glazers and Painters Local 1118, Roofers Local 23, IBEW Local 153, and Carpenters Local 413.

Rebuilding Together also hosts a community day every year which takes volunteers of any skill level.

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This year that day is April 22nd. Click here for more information on how to volunteer.

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