Group aiming to fix up 30 homes over 3 weeks
Published 10:26 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Community Home Improvement Program has set high goals for this summer.
The Vision 2020 group is aiming to fix up 30 homes over the course of three weeks, or ten homes per week.
“We started to get into these one week events, which seem to be really good and seems to be a lot of groups coming to help out, which is great,” Community Development Coordinator Brent Johnson said.
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The CHIP program is a community betterment program that utilizes volunteers to reduce the cost of home repairs for families who qualify. Homeowners work with volunteers to make improvements to the exterior of their home, which could include painting, patching roofs or fixing windows and doors.
CHIP was created in 2013 by Vision 2020’s Community Pride and Spirit committee, Freeborn/Mower Habitat for Humanity and the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
CHIP’s goals are to help homeowners preserve their homes by intervening with needed maintenance to improve the overall appearance of homes in Austin and to build connections among residents.
The program started in 2013 with seven homes to fix and increased to 10 in the second year. By the third year, volunteers fixed 20 homes.
“We’re helping out more and more families,” Johnson said. “Bringing together volunteers, doing things like this, [brings] a sense of community.”
Any homeowners that can show financial need are encouraged to apply for assistance through CHIP. Johnson said assistance can be at any level. Habitat for Humanity offers zero interest programs and the HRA offers a 2 percent loan. There’s also an opportunity for grants.
Johnson said applicants will fill out a prescreening application and then a full application to be considered for the program, which may also affect assistance.
“Once they go through the prescreening, we’ll see where they’re at and if in that instance they don’t qualify, we can instantly be able to help them each way, so maybe if Habitat can’t, the HRA can,” Johnson said.
In addition to raising the number of homes to fix, they also want to reach out to more veterans. It’s a small thank you to special members of the community who sacrificed so much.
“We haven’t really touched that basis before, which we want to,” Johnson said. “We want to help out veterans and if there are veterans in need, we highly recommend them to apply.”
More volunteers are welcome to help the effort as well. Depending on the project for the house, it usually takes five to 20 volunteers, Johnson noted. For house paintings, they could use 15 to 20 people, for trim work they might only need five.
“If I’ve got 20 people, I need to make sure those 20 people are satisfied in helping and making sure that we’re doing something and getting something done,” Johnson said. “So by the end of the day when they leave, they get that satisfaction of what they did in the end.”
Johnson said it’s awesome the program is approaching the fourth year and if they could continue past the year 2020, they might start spreading out to smaller communities outside of Austin.
The three weeks volunteers will work on homes are June 27 to July 2, Aug. 1 to 6 and Sept. 19 to 24.
For applications and volunteer information, contact Johnson at 507-433-1349 ext. 2 or email@example.com