Building Hope (Tenufa Bakehila) has been supporting families living in poverty for over 25 years, by providing urgent home repairs and social care assistance. Their work includes repairing leaky roofs, mouldy inner walls, replacing broken kitchens, plumbing and electrical systems, which not only fixes the problem in the home, it also restores the family’s sense of pride and encourages then to improve their situation and strive for change. All the work is carried out at no cost to the families. Once the physical repair work has been completed, Building Hope brings in its social worker to help the family address the other challenges they face, including assisting unemployed parents to get back to work and helping children who are falling behind at school. The organisation employs 10 full time maintenance professionals, who are joined by around 100 volunteers a year, some who are contractors. In addition to carrying out repairs and renovations, they engage the families in the task and help empower them to take responsibility for the upkeep of their own homes. Building Hope carries out around 400 repair projects annually across 14 cities and has helped over 5,500 distressed families so far, including single mothers, the elderly, Holocaust survivors, victims of terrorism and new immigrants. The majority of families are referred to them by welfare departments.
At the onset of the pandemic, Building Hope opened an emergency hotline. With everyone housebound, urgent home repairs became even more urgent and demand rose as commercial professional service providers ceased to operate. The hotline received over 800 calls during the 8 week lockdown (April-June) and, as the organisation was recognised as an essential service provider by the government, it was able to provide relief to 217 families during the period. Since lockdown was lifted, requests for help have not abated. More and more families who were not considered low-income pre-COVID, are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. Support from the Scheinberg Relief Fund has allowed Building Hope to continue their essential work and funded emergency repairs at the homes of 31 elderly people and holocaust survivors.