By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local nonprofit group that provides repairs and improvements for low-income homeowners in Philadelphia was celebrating a milestone today.

More than 100 volunteers celebrated outside a modest, two-story rowhouse at 3852 Melon Street, the 100th house that “Rebuilding Together Philadelphia” (RTP) has repaired in the Mantua neighborhood over the past four years.

Delores Clark, 86, has lived there most of her life and says the house needed a lot of work.

“My god!  They put in new pipes and a new wall,” she recounted happily today.  “The put a railing for seniors in my bathroom, and they took up all the old carpet that had been on the floor and put hardwood floors in.  And they did a beautiful job.”


(A new floor in the home of Delores Clark.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(A new floor in the home of Delores Clark. Photo by Paul Kurtz)


RTP renovates about 70 houses each year, and executive director Stefanie Seldin says all the grunt work is done by an army of volunteers.

“They really come out of the woodwork,” she said today.  “It’s a wonderful project. We lucked out with a beautiful day. And people really do want to give back.”

After Mantua, Seldin says, they’ll move on to the area called “Eastern North,” near Temple University.

“It’s very interesting because there’s a lot of development going on there,” Seldin tells KYW Newsradio, “and we’re really hoping to be able to allow long-term homeowners to remain in their homes and not feel the pressure to leave from gentrification.”

RTP has renovated 1,300 homes across Philadelphia since it launched 27 years ago.