Rebuilding Together Services Associated with Improved Mental Health for Neighbors

December 9, 2020
by Merrill Friedman, Board Member at Rebuilding Together National

“No more stress when the wind blows or rains, and it looks great.” —Survey Respondent

“Rebuilding team lifted my self-esteem as an older homeowner.” —Survey Respondent

“I went from very sad and uneasy to seeing the light of compassion from others. Eternally grateful.” —Survey Respondent

“With no A/C, my wife was literally dying. Her [health] has gotten better and improved because of the repairs.” —Survey Respondent

There is no doubt that social isolation and rising financial stress and unemployment as a result of COVID-19 is taking a toll on our mental health. For those sheltering at home with unsafe and unhabitable living conditions, this stress is compounded by not having the financial means to address home safety basics, such as plumbing issues, mold, mildew, exposure to toxins, and water leaks that put their health at risk. Reported research indicates that the stress of maintaining a home can have a significant effect on mental health, especially for low-income homeowners.1

By providing no-cost home repairs, Rebuilding Together can improve mental health outcomes for neighbors that receive services. A recent homeowner impact survey of 98 homeowners conducted by the external evaluator Actionable Insights found that Rebuilding Together repairs led to self-reported stress reduction around home repairs and maintenance.2 Eighty-seven percent of the respondents reporting high levels of stress felt less stressed about their safety due to the home repairs and maintenance six months after receiving services. More than half of homeowners felt more happiness in their lives, and 60% said they felt greater confidence in coping with life’s stressors after repairs were completed.

Research findings indicate that home repairs—particularly improvements to heating and cooling systems and energy efficiency—have been associated with improved mental health3,4. Rebuilding Together affiliates improved the ability to control interior temperature in an average of 68% of homes, which may be associated with improved mental health.

Finally, 73% of homeowners said they felt more pride in their homes after repairs had been completed. Pride is intrinsically tied to our feelings of self-worth, a crucial aspect of overall mental health.

During a time when people are spending more time at home than ever, the home environment needs to be a source of safety and positivity. To read more about how the home improvements that Rebuilding Together affiliates provide, improve the overall health and wellbeing of our neighbors, read the full impact measurement report.


1 Smith, S. J., Easterlow, D., Munro, M., & Turner, K. M. (2003). Housing as health capital: how health trajectories and housing paths are linked. Journal of social issues, 59(3), 501-525. Retrieved from 0Housing%20Paths%20Are%20Linked.pdf
2 Rebuilding Together (2020). Impact measurement pilot report. Retrieved from
3 Liddell, C., & Guiney, C. (2015). Living in a cold and damp home: Frameworks for understanding impacts on mental well-being. Public Health, 129(3), 191–199. Retrieved from
4 Thomson, H., Thomas, S., Sellstrom, E., & Petticrew, M. (2013). Housing improvements for health and associated socio‐economic outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2. Retrieved from