Hundreds helped "Paint the Town" in Anchorage this summer

Debe Mahoney

An amazing thing happened this summer - 26 homes in the Anchorage bowl were painted by complete strangers. More than 460 volunteers took time away from their families and their jobs to paint the home of someone they never met before.

Paint the Town is a week long signature event for NeighborWorks® Anchorage that took place June 5-13th during National Homeownership Month and National NeighborWorks® Week. Organizations involved in NeighborWorks® Week are part of a national network of nonprofits working year-round to revitalize communities.

Paint the Town is one of the largest volunteer efforts in Anchorage. Who did all this work?

People you know and work with everyday came together to pull it off. Paint the Town builds partnerships with local businesses and employees, banks and credit unions, the military, federal, state and local government, church groups, neighbors and families. Over $50,000 was raised locally and nearly 500 volunteers spent more than 4,300 hours prepping and painting homes in need.

Homes were nominated by neighbors, co-workers, businesses and government offices. Those chosen were owned by senior or disabled citizens or low-to-moderate income working families that were not able, or could not afford to have their homes painted.

Why does NeighborWorks® Anchorage think this event is important to the community?

Because we believe the success of any community involves engaging residents and creating a spirit of participation. Paint the Town is one way NeighborWorks® Anchorage is meeting our mission of revitalizing neighborhoods.

Another part of our mission is serving as a catalyst for long-term change through involvement of the greater community. Through collaboration with our partners we strive to provide more housing opportunities for the homeless in Anchorage, and to increase housing options for workforce populations. Many workforce households do not qualify for federal programs, yet do not have enough income for adequate housing. The result is an economic class that is rapidly becoming underhoused.

NeighborWorks® Anchorage is a local non-profit that believes "Everyone Deserves a Place to Call Home." We assist those searching for affordable housing by providing safe, stable and affordable rental housing options, mortgage loan down payment assistance programs, pre-purchase home counseling, and financial literacy. We also provide repair grants through our minor repair program for low- to moderate-income homeowners, and accessibility grants for seniors age 55 and older to ensure their safety and enable them to remain in their homes.

Paint the Town made a huge difference in the lives of the volunteers, homeowners and their neighborhoods. If you would like more information about the various programs we provide, or are interested in participating in or supporting Paint the Town 2010, please call 677-8490.

Debe Mahoney is Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Anchorage.