Vision 2020 volunteers spruce up Austin homesPublished 10:34am Thursday, July 18, 2013
Dozens of volunteers can be found in northeast Austin this month, as the Community Housing Improvement Project starts to spruce up area houses.
“It has felt great to start this,” Patty Stevens, co-chair of Vision 2020’s Community Pride & Spirit Committee, said. “There has been a lot of around-the-table discussion on this.”
The CHIP project began as an idea earlier this year to make improvements to houses in disrepair. Vision 2020 partnered with Mower County Habitat for Humanity to help homeowners at the 900 and 1000 block of Second, Third, and Fourth avenues Northeast this month.
Homeowners needed to apply for the project, which gets volunteers to make small improvements such as painting, fixing windows, redoing siding, and more on houses.
“They really did a good job,” said Tracy Wylie, whose home was painted by CHIPS volunteers Wednesday. Wylie said she heard about the program through the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Of course, homeowners are expected to put in a little work of their own, even if the program is free to eligible homeowners.
The project is also a good learning tool, as volunteers from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church discovered Wednesday. More than 15 middle school students helped paint Wylie’s house, along with several youth leaders and church staff.
“We look for opportunities to serve and give within the community, whether it’s our local community or our global community,” said Marcia Pedersen, director of children, youth and families at Our Savior’s.
Pedersen said the students, part of Our Savior’s Summer Grunge program, have looked to do volunteer work like this for some time so they can learn how to be charitable. The CHIP program has given the church the opportunity to instill those lessons, and Pedersen said the church will review what it means to be a servant to the public and help others for the rest of the year.
CHIP volunteers will work on homes in the northeast part of town for the rest of the month, including Saturday, July 27, when local volunteers will get help from the Craftsman company’s Make A Difference trailer, filled with Craftsman tools to help projects all over the country.
Residents can still volunteer for the CHIP program by contacting the Freeborn Mower Habitat for Humanity. No skills are needed, and the minimum age to volunteer is 14. Contact Brigitte Campbell at (507)-433-1349.