Mayor and organization team up to rebuild South Bend - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Mayor and organization team up to rebuild South Bend

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is teaming up with an organization called Rebuilding Together to start fixing up the city's vacant and abandoned homes. That's been one of Buttigieg's key missions since he took office in 2012. But even he admits the problem is more challenging to tackle than he originally anticipated.

"It's been even bigger than I thought but that's why we had to do it," he told FOX 28 in January. "We did it the hard way. We didn't take a lot of shortcuts on this."

Then on February 27 Buttigieg's office released his official plan to solve the problem. It included either demolishing or rehabilitating one thousand South Bend homes in one thousand days. The city hired a new code enforcement director to determine which homes were in too bad of shape to be fixed up.

Even then Buttigieg met resistance from those who believe tearing down homes changes the character of the city. But others say it's the only realistic option. The Mayor says he's going to do what he can with the $1 million dollars he says the Common Council set aside to be used for the project, and a big part of that is rehabilitation

Virginia Kuczmanski a homeowner benefiting from the partnership.  "I thank Jesus for being so blessed that this was open to me.  It's a good program," said Kuczmanski.  She is getting a new roof and furnace/AC unit for her home.

"With this year's projects Rebuilding Together celebrates its 25th year of revitalizing homes and neighborhoods," Rucker said. "The organization's tremendous history of assisting low-income homeowners, especially the elderly and disabled, is a real testament to the support of our volunteers and sponsors."

This April, 800 volunteers will join Rebuilding Together to make home repairs worth more than $300,000, which includes about nine roof replacements, ten furnace upgrades, and twelve exterior painting projects.

If you'd like to learn more about Rebuilding Together, you can visit their web site.

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