Rebuilding Together Makes a House a Home

Volunteer projects throughout the county helped make improvements to private homes and community facilities, including Barrett Community Center in Belmont.


[Editor's Note: The following was submitted by Rebuilding Together Peninsula.]

Susanne “Sue” Fosgett knows firsthand that Rebuilding Together Peninsula is truly changing lives.  Sue, and her two sons, Dustin, 19 and Dylan, 15, received a home renovation on National Rebuilding Day, this past Saturday April 27 that allowed her house to be a home again. 

Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID) referred Sue to Rebuilding Together Peninsula, because her oldest son has been living with Aspergers and needed home modifications to assist him to live independently. The problem was that CID could not install the safety modification without the homeowner first addressing the necessary home repairs; this is where Rebuilding Together Peninsula was able to step in and help the family make their home safe for the whole family.

Rebuilding Together Peninsula became an integral partner for this family when CID’s safety check revealed handrails were required in the shower. CID could not install the recommended handrails until the shower was repaired, and the homeowner had no way to fix the shower to allow for the necessary modifications. 

These handrails are mandatory for her son to shower independanly and to keep him from slipping in the shower.  So, after being selected as a recipient for this year’s National Rebuilding Day, Sue is comforted knowing her son is not only safe, but also learning to be more independent.

For a video of the Rebuilding Together project at Barrett Community Center, click on the YouTube video above.

Sue was born in 1963 at Peninsula Hospital and lived with her parents in Pacifica, CA until they moved to their current house in Redwood City in 1972.   

Sue’s father passed in 1975, not long after moving into the house.  This meant that a lot of the necessary repairs went undone.  Even basic repairs were a challenge to maintain this house that was built in 1925.  Now, Sue is not only looking forward to feeling safe and secure for her son, but she wants to keep up the repair so that her kids can keep the house in the future.

Sue has many fond memories about growing up in the Red Morton neighborhood of Redwood City.  Sue laughs as she mentions that she seems to almost always have a funny story to share with her children about her childhood in their neighborhood. She feels fortunate to raise her children in the same neighborhood that she also grew up in as a child. 

Sue remembers the ‘monkey bars’ that her dad made for her to play on in the backyard, and how the backyard was her favorite place in the house during her childhood.  Before National Rebuilding Day Sue was saddened that she could not even stand to be in the backyard, now it is fun usable place for her and her boys to play in again. 

The Fosgett family is already celebrating the many repairs that their house received in addition to the shower repairs.  Rebuilding Together repaired 2 of 4 burners on the stove and repaired the oven so that it is in working order.  There were also plenty of electrical sockets that need to be brought up to code to prevent the family from further electrical shocks. 

Of course, Dylan can now play basketball in the backyard again after Rebuilding Together mended the raised cement, overgrown yard, and broken fence. And everyone in the house is thrilled that the heater working again!

However, even with these important repairs, the most life changing part of this story is that Dustin can live more independently without possible threat of electrical shock on the stove and slipping in the shower.  Dustin can begin doing the small things that most people take for granted without his mother worrying about his safety.  Dustin will continue to feel the ripple effect of being able to take care of himself more without his mother’s assistance for the rest of his life. 

Sue says she still cannot believe that Rebuilding Together Peninsula selected her for National Rebuilding Day.  She knows that there were many people who applied and she feels so lucky that her son can be safe, and that she can worry less. She does not have to worry about either of her sons getting shocked, and she said she is so relieved at the prospect of living in the house as a “normal home should be lived in.”  Sue is filled with happiness and no longer worries about Dustin’s future.  Instead, Sue says, she feels these changes will help Dustin make it in this world by building up his confidence and ability to be more independent at home. 

Sue is already so grateful that she wants to help in the process of rebuilding another family’s home next year!  She wants to give others the same hope that Rebuilding Together Peninsula has given to her and her family. She wants to help someone else find the faith that she has found for mankind.  Sue wants to spread the word about the great work that is being done in her community.  Sue knows that Rebuilding Together Peninsula is helping the Fosgetts reconnect with their home and pave a future path for her sons to stay in the community for generations to come.

“I'm so happy and grateful for everything that Rebuilding Together has done for my family. 

The words 'thank you' cannot describe my gratitude and appreciation,” said Sue.


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