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Team Rubicon is doing 'heart work' to help San Diego flood victims

For the last three weeks volunteers from the nonprofit Team Rubicon have been helping flood victims in the San Diego and National City areas clear out their damaged properties for free. The veteran-led organization specializes in clean up services after natural disasters.

Why it matters

The clean ups, called "muckouts" by Team Rubicon, would normally cost thousands of dollars, but with the help of volunteers, they are able to provide all services for free.

Volunteers remove drywall, insulation, flooring and anything hazardous from homes.


“Usually our clients are underinsured or uninsured and under-resourced. So, our services are provided to these folks that need it more desperately than ever,” said Noel Middleton who has been volunteering with Team Rubicon since 2020.  

By the numbers

Hundreds of local households were displaced by flooding during the Jan. 22 storm.

Since then local Team Rubicon volunteers have cleaned out 39 flood-damaged homes in the county, 10 more homeowners are waiting for help, Middleton said.

“We’ve removed 18,000 square feet of drywall," he said. "15,000 cubic feet of debris and over 8,000 square feet of flooring."

Closer look

Middleton said the reward of this type of work comes in the form of hugs.


“One of my colleagues always says, ‘We do hard work, but we do heart work’ and that’s the core of it. All of us here, the reward is the relief on someone’s face, that someone cares,” he said. 

Looking ahead

Middleton said it takes Team Rubicon volunteers one to three days to completely clear out a home of destroyed of hazardous material, but once the home is cleared, the home is ready for a contractor to come in and begin repairs.