Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 30, 2014

Habitat for Humanity begins painting home

By DONNA SCHILL CLEVELAND, Ledger staff writer | Oct 15, 2012
Photo by: DONNA SCHILL CLEVELAND/Ledger photo Kim Kurtz, right, scrapes white paint from the side of her house on West Hempstead Avenue Friday with the help of Jodi Loin, board member of the Greater Fairfield Area Habitat for Humanity. Kurtz applied for assistance painting her home from the organization’s new program, A Brush with Kindness.

The Fairfield police will soon have a nicer view to the east of the station, according to Kim Kurtz of West Hempstead Avenue.

With help from a new program through the Greater Fairfield Area Habitat for Humanity, Kurtz’s home, adjacent to the Jefferson County Law Center, will soon benefit from a fresh coat of paint.

“I will feel so much better; I won’t be holding the neighborhood down anymore,” she said. “I’m sure the police think it’s about time.”

When Kurtz bought her home five years ago, she replaced the windows, as well as repaired the roof and foundation. Kurtz wanted to paint and do landscaping as well, but when her elderly mother came to live with her three years ago, she became her priority.

“Between work and my mom I couldn’t get to it,” she said.

Kurtz said her mother tried to take care of her, despite having gone through cancer treatment three times. Often when Kurtz came home from shifts at Kum & Go, she would have dinner waiting.

“I felt like a little kid again,” she said. “She always tried to make the house good for me … We both helped each other.”

Kurtz’s mother died Sept. 12 of heart failure at 87. As Kurtz helped Habitat volunteers scrape away cracked white paint from the walls of her home Friday, she realized tearfully it had been a month since her passing.

“I feel like she’d be relieved I’m getting the house painted,” she said.

 

Kurtz learned of Habitat’s program, A Brush with Kindness, while reading an article in the paper. When she saw the program offered a no-interest loan and volunteer labor to help improve home exteriors, Kurtz called the number listed to apply.

“I thought, I’m as good as anybody else to try,” she said.

Within weeks, Kurtz had a group of women from the local chapter at her home, unloading ladders, tarps and tools in her front yard.

Board members, Jodi Loin, Christie Kessel and Jennifer Larson helped her prepare the home to be repainted Friday.

Loin said she’s been pleased with Kurtz’s response to the project.

“She is very excited to have help,” said Loin. “She’s also very enthusiastic to work alongside with us in getting the house ready.”

This Saturday, they’ll have a group of volunteers help complete the painting, some of which will be Fairfield High School students fulfilling community service hours. Larson said they could still put more volunteers to work.

In order to qualify for any Habitat program, Loin said residents must demonstrate their need, the ability to pay back a no-interest loan and a willingness to partner with volunteers. She said helping with projects in some way helps applicants feel more invested and committed to up keeping their home.

“You’re more likely to keep your home maintained when you worked so hard to get it there,” she said.

She said candidates are often elderly, or working families who don’t have the income to qualify for a bank loan. For those unable to do manual work, she said applicants can recruit family members or friends to help, or volunteer to man the cash register at the PreRestore.

Those interested in applying or volunteering can call Christie Kessel at 233-7600 or call Habitat’s PreRestore at 209-9450 for more information.

Realtors from Fairfield Multiple Listing Service purchased the paint for the project. Loin said she and Kurtz have discussed a repayment plan for the supplies. The maximum budget for A Brush with Kindness projects is $3,000, but Loin said most projects will be in the hundreds.

Kurtz said although the project budget is small, the impact will be great.

“This will be a big improvement,” she said. “I couldn’t do this alone.”

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