As an emergency response property restoration company, Belfor Property Restoration Milwaukee is accustomed to helping in times of need.
But in addition to providing services for natural disasters, fires and floods, the Wauwatosa company has signed on as a partner for Revitalize Milwaukee, formerly known as Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee, an organization that responds to a different type of emergency.
Each year, hundreds of veterans, elderly individuals and people with disabilities are forced to leave their homes because they can’t keep up with the repairs and maintenance.
Revitalize Milwaukee provides critical home repairs and services, free of charge, to eligible homeowners throughout the community.
Belfor became involved with Revitalize Milwaukee after the company responded to a fire at a local Sherwin-Williams store. The fire significantly damaged the store and a large amount of inventory, but much of the paint was donated to RM, said Jeff Kaminski, general manager of Belfor Milwaukee.
“The organization didn’t have the equipment to pick up the paint, and so we volunteered our trucks and a couple of employees to bring it over. There, we found out who they were and what they do,” Kaminski said. “That was only the beginning.”
Revitalize Milwaukee seeks to revitalize neighborhoods through its work, and relies heavily on community support and donations to do that.
“We provide gap services and emergency response services in order to keep people in their homes long-term,” said Lynnea Katz-Petted, chief executive officer of Revitalize Milwaukee.
“No other organization provides support in emergency situations like we do,” she said. “We support approximately 350 projects a year and are 99 percent privately funded. Without our volunteers, the work we do would not be possible.”
Belfor played an integral role in the organization’s annual Block Build MKE event.
Block Build pulls together hundreds of volunteers to repair multiple homes in a single day in an effort to revamp and revitalize communities.
“The Block Build was Belfor’s opportunity to get involved in a much larger way,” Katz-Petted said. “They provided logistics and materials support, assisted in coordinating and acquiring materials, and also provided manual labor to ultimately make the day successful.”
In addition to spending several weeks ordering supplies and tracking deliveries, Belfor and its subcontractors had 25 to 30 people on site for the event, said Carrie Kaminski, marketing and sales coordinator.
Job sites varied in scope and size, and included the installation of accessible ramps and grab bars; reinforcement of existing railings, stairways, porches and landings; repairs or replacement of security locks; general painting; minor plumbing; electrical; and cleaning work.
“At the end of the day, we accomplished quite a bit,” Jeff said. “Getting to meet these people and know we’re truly doing something good for people who really need it is a great takeaway. We take great pride in the work that we are able to do for them.”
Belfor now serves as an on-call partner for Revitalize Milwaukee and helps whenever possible.