Shinefest looks to fix homesPublished 9:30am Friday, July 20, 2012
Several local groups are working together to help families in Albert Lea who can’t afford necessary home improvements.
Shinefest’s Healing Hearts & Homes, the Albert Lea Housing & Redevelopment Authority, the United Way of Freeborn County, and Freeborn-Mower Habitat for Humanity, along with funding from local businesses are working together for a new event. It’s called Rocking the Block, and it’s one week long starting Aug. 13. Five homes have already been chosen after an application process, and organizer Jim Troe said they’re homeowners who want to complete the work but were financially unable and now the problems are overwhelming.
“They’re all people who wanted to work themselves but need extra help,” Troe said.
Because the groups are collaborating they’re able to help fix the homes in different ways, including both exterior and interior problems. They stressed that the updates will not just be cosmetic, and that many of the homes have serious problems like flooding, which causes other problems like mold.
“We’re working backward to find the root cause of issues,” organizer Tom Egan said.
Some problems like flooding are caused by the grading of the lawn outside, and the group is fixing that sort of problem in at least one of the homes.
“There are some foundation issues, too,” organizer Ryan Applegate said.
Together the organizers have found the problems they’d like to solve in each home, but they’ll only be able to do so much depending on donations, the number of volunteers and other variables.
“We’re going to do what we can with what we have,” United Way Executive Director Ann Austin said.
And while the group has gotten some financial donations, it’s also looking for volunteers and building materials. Volunteers are needed who have experience in any kind of work like plumbing, painting, roofing, landscaping and many other specialties.
Anyone interested in volunteering, donating items or funds or borrowing tools and equipment that week can call Austin at 373-8670. Volunteers could also fill out a form online at www.unitedwayfc.org/rock-the-block.
The group is also selling sponsorships for each hole of the new Oak Island disc golf course being built in Bancroft Bay. Troe said about 30 of the 36 sponsorships have already been reserved by area businesses, but that they’re looking for more.
“Businesses can do that for $150 for three years,” Troe said. “That money goes to this project.”
This is just the first year the groups have collaborated for Rocking the Block, but organizers said they’re hopeful the event goes well and could be done in future years, too.
Building supplies needed
• Interior and exterior paint and supplies like brushes, pans, etc.
• Drywall and drywall mud and screws
• Any variety of siding or lumber
• Carpet, tile and tiling supplies like grout, etc.
• Plumbing for bathrooms or laundry rooms
• Handrails with hardware
• Drain tile, concrete and caulk
• Windows and storm windows
• Gutters, downspouts and sealant
— Call 373-8670 if you have any of the above items or any other building materials