FAQ

This is Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s 23nd year. Over the years we have developed a comprehensive Captains’ Binder to assist you in managing your projects, but we know common questions will still come up that aren’t answered in your binder. If you can’t find an answer to your question here or you need more information, please contact us online or by phone 415-905-1611.

Volunteer/Captain Questions

Did you used to be Christmas in April?

Yes! We changed our name Nationally in 2000, but don’t worry – new great name, same great work.

Where is Rebuilding Together San Francisco located?

Our address is Pier 28, on the Embarcadero at Pier 28 at Bryant Street. (Right next to Red’s Java House.) As you enter Pier 28 we are the first office on the right side. We do have limited parking within Pier 28 and plenty of metered parking just outside. If you are picking up supplies you can drive into the pier and we’ll help you get in and out quickly. You can also see a map on our Contact page. (Note that even numbered piers are located South of the Ferry Building and odd numbered piers (like pier 39) are located North of the Ferry Building. Confusing isn’t it?

Can my church/work/group of friends volunteer?

Yes! We’re always looking for more groups to join our efforts. Our great community work is done through a sponsorship model meaning that local churches, professional affiliations and companies provide a specific sponsorship which helps us cover the costs of materials, project management, covers our insurance and allows us to continue to do our work year after year! If you would like to know more about sponsoring a project, please contact our Executive Director, Karen Nemsick.

If you are unable to provide a sponsorship, we are still always in need of volunteers, especially on the weekends leading up to Rebuilding Day (generally the last 3 weekends in April). Unfortunately, project priority is given to sponsoring groups on the actual Rebuilding Day but please see our Volunteer Page for more information about getting involved.

Can my daughter/son/youth volunteer?

Our age minimum for all our rebuilding projects is 14 years old with adult supervision. Technically our insurance classifies our projects as construction sites and to ensure everyone’s safety, we ask that all volunteers be over 14 years old.

How do you provide the repairs for free?

We receive generous financial support from the corporate community as well as the government and local foundations. We use this money to purchase the materials needed for the repairs that we do. Then, volunteers do most of the repairs, saving us thousands of dollars in labor costs.

When are the repairs done?

Some homeowners will receive repairs on our big project day in April or October, called Rebuilding Day and Fall Build Day. Rebuilding Day is always the last Saturday in April and our Fall Build Day is the last Saturday in October. Other repairs are addressed on a year-round basis as part of our Home Safety program. Repairs done depend on the repairs needed.

What kind of repairs do you do?

We focus on repairs that will keep homeowners warmer, safer, and drier. These can include major repairs like carpentry, clearing out unwanted items, painting, plumbing, home safety modifications and other repairs. We can do many different types of repairs, depending on the condition of the home, the repairs needed, the availability of funding and the skills of our volunteers.

Is this like the TV show, 'Extreme Makeover'?

No. We can’t rehabilitate or build an entire house like they do on TV – unfortunately we just don’t have the funds to do that. We target repairs that will make the home warmer, safer, and drier and help to revitalize the community. The home will be more comfortable and safer to live in, and will probably look nicer, but it won’t be a complete makeover.

Is everyone who applies guaranteed to get help?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that everyone who applies will be accepted into the program. We have limited resources and have to prioritize homes based on need as well as the skills and abilities of our volunteers.

What do you expect from homeowners & facilities if they are selected?

If a home or facility is selected for work, we ask that the homeowner or facility representative works in partnership with the volunteer team assigned to prioritize and plan the repairs. We also ask that any able-bodies residents of the home, or relatives who live in the area, be present to help volunteers with the repairs.

How do you select the homeowner you serve?

We select homeowners based on income, age, disability, and on the repairs that are needed in the home. We will only work on owner-occupied homes. Unfortunately, we are not always able to serve everyone who applies.

Do you take donations?

Yes! We love donations and have an increased need for them from February through April. Please call us for more information but in general we take, in good working condition:

  • Building Materials: lumber, insulation, hardware, etc.
  • Recycled Materials: windows, doors, tools, cabinets, etc
  • Appliances: because they are going into the homes of seniors and adults with disabilities, we ask that they be no older than 3 years old. We’re always in need of stoves, refrigerators, washer & dryers.
  • Misc: flooring, lighting fixtures, some furniture, etc

What is a Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s Tax ID number?

Rebuilding Together San Francisco in a 501(c)(3) Non Profit organization. Our Federal Tax ID is 94-3107808. You may need to provide vendors with this number when they make an in-kind donation.

Does RTSF provide food for volunteers on Rebuilding Day?

We ask teams to provide food, including lunch, snacks and morning noshes, for their volunteers. Some sponsors provide their volunteer captains with a separate budget for food, and several teams recruit in-kind donations from local merchants (usually with great success). We do ask that you avoid spending your project budget on lunch for volunteers, but if you’re facing challenges with this, please call us and we’ll help you work out a creative solution.

How do we celebrate at the end of the workday?

This year we are going to have an informal barbecue for captains and key volunteers at Pier 28. We invite you to join RTSF staff, board and other captains sharing project stories and enjoying some food and refreshment.

What’s Project 20 and does Rebuilding Together participate?

Project 20 is a city-run program that RTSF participates in–it allows you to pay off your parking tickets by volunteering with nonprofits. If you have parking tickets and would like to access Project 20 hours, call their office at (415) 626-4995 to get the paperwork. Let us know that you would like to apply your Captains’ volunteers hours to Project 20 and have us sign your paperwork when your project is done. Of course, we use all kinds of volunteers throughout the year, and are happy to provide people with Project 20 hours outside of Rebuilding Day as well. For more information on Project 20 check their website or go to the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, Inc., 567 7th Street, San Francisco, California, 94103

  • "I am still admiring the work your staff did for us. I am still grateful." Mrs. C

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