Repair assistance goes virtual in Hennepin County

Fix-It Clinic
In lieu of Fix-It Clinics, Hennepin County is connecting residents to volunteers for help repairing household appliances, electronics and other goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Submitted photo

Hennepin County is offering free virtual volunteer help to residents seeking to repair household appliances, electronics and goods without leaving home.

For the past month, the county’s Energy and Environment Department has been connecting residents to volunteers with exper- tise in repairing household appliances and electronics for one-on-one video sessions.

The volunteers help residents navigate repairs they may otherwise not be able to make on their own.

The virtual sessions are the county’s temporary replacement for the Fix-It Clinic program. At Fix-It Clinics, volunteers provide in-person assistance to help residents learn basic troubleshooting and repair skills for household appliances and electronics and to keep such goods out of the landfill.

The county has held them since 2012 but hasn’t held one since February.

Waste reduction and recycling specialist Nancy Lo said there has typically been at least one virtual session per day since they began in mid-June.

About 10 volunteers are helping with the virtual repair sessions, she said. They’ve helped residents fix household goods that are typically brought to Fix-It Clinics, but they’ve also been able to help fix larger items that can’t be brought to clinics, such as treadmills and overhead projectors. “There are some advantages,” Lo said of the new format.

Visit tinyurl.com/virtualfixit to learn more about the program or to request a virtual repair appointment. Residents need an internet-connected device for a visit, and it’s helpful to have a second person in your household for camerawork and help with disassembly and repairs, the county says.