Jennifer Thurman, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together OKC; Tim Reardon, Program Director; Claude Drabek, Board Vice President; AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl; Associate State Directors Mashell Sourjohn & Dusty Darr; Rebuilding Together Program Coordinator Jean Derry

Jennifer Thurman, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together OKC; Tim Reardon, Program Director; Claude Drabek, Board Vice President; AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl; Associate State Directors Mashell Sourjohn & Dusty Darr; Rebuilding Together Program Coordinator Jean Derry

AARP Oklahoma today presented Rebuilding Together OKC an $80,000 grant to help low-income older Oklahomans whose homes were damaged by May tornadoes.

“We are appreciative of the outpouring of support by all those who donated to the AARP Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund and are pleased that this money will directly help older Oklahomans,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with those affected by these devastating storms.”

“We will use AARP funds to help low-income elderly homeowners in the OKC area rebuild their homes after the disasters. We believe that a safe, warm and dry home is a critical building block for a healthy, rewarding life,” said Rebuilding Together OKC Executive Director Jennifer Thurman. “We want to thank AARP for helping these homeowners get their lives back.”

Rebuilding Together OKC, which serves low-income homeowners who are 55 or older, estimates it will spend half of the grant making roof repairs and the other half on repairs such as heating systems, flooring and walls. In addition to its greater Oklahoma City metro service area, the organization says it will work with Rebuilding Together Cleveland County on joint projects if funding permits.

Within hours of the May storms, AARP Foundation established an Oklahoma relief fund to support victims. AARP and AARP Foundation matched dollar-for-dollar contributions up to $300,000 resulting in a total of $673,000 raised from more than 6,000 people, Voskuhl said. All 11 organizations receiving grants have signed a letter of agreement and submitted a plan detailing how they will use funding to help storm victims. In addition, grantees have committed that 100% of funds will be used for direct assistance in Oklahoma and no portion will be used for administrative costs. Each organization will send a final report to AARP detailing the full expenditure of its grant money.

AARP is committed to helping those in need and continues to participate in long-term recovery committee meetings in Pottawatomie and Oklahoma/Cleveland counties, Voskuhl said. The association will be announcing additional local grants that will help tornado victims over the next several weeks.

Earlier this year, AARP Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to Rebuilding Together OKC that will be used as part of a pilot for its Safe at Home Program that provides aging-in-place services and home modifications.

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