Disaster Recovery: Rebuilding The Right Way

May 4, 2022
by Jarod Hamm, Development & Communications Manager at Rebuilding Together Nashville

The historic home in North Nashville where Bobby and Elmira had lived for 37 years initially appeared to have stood up to the strong winds of the 2020 Nashville tornado. However, once they were referred to Rebuilding Together Nashville, a thorough home assessment revealed significant underlying structural, health and safety issues in the home not easily visible to the couple. Many of the joists had completely rotted away and the home was sitting on a patchwork of stones and stumps that served as the foundation. The disintegrated floor system presented a major safety hazard for the couple who desired to age in place and were already experiencing mobility challenges. At this point, Bobby and Elmira could have opted to completely tear down the home and work with other organizations to build a new home, but because of their connection to the house and our team, they chose to continue with Rebuilding Together, making this one of the most extensive renovations we’ve taken on.

“Due to the home’s age and condition, it’s a miracle the house was still standing after the storm,” said Paulina Robles, Rebuilding Together Nashville’s disaster recovery coordinator. We got to work rebuilding the home better than before from the inside out. After stabilizing exterior walls, Rebuilding Together Nashville tore the house down to its bare bones and poured a new concrete foundation. The home was then built back to its original layout, keeping only two existing walls in the end. This included new walls, roof structure, joists, windows, siding and much more. Modifications to the interior layout and bathroom were made so the entire home could be accessible for future wheelchair use. Rebuilding Together Nashville also installed all new appliances in the kitchen and grab bars in the bathroom.Real recovery from disasters isn’t a fast process. We are still rebuilding homes damaged by the 2020 tornado, and several from the 2021 flood. However, homes like Bobby and Elmira’s show how important and impactful it is to take the time to do things right. Their dream was to not only get back to normal but spend the rest of their lives in this home. This work with our partners in the Disaster Recovery Connection’s Long-Term Recovery Group has helped make that dream possible.“ [We feel] grateful, happy; we have never had anybody help us like this before,” said Bobby and Elmira. Find more information about our disaster recovery initiatives here