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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Volunteers lend North End homeowners helping hands

Volunteers lend North End homeowners helping hands

Several dozen volunteers helped spruce up the city’s North End again Saturday as part of a program a

Several dozen volunteers helped spruce up the city’s North End again Saturday as part of a program aimed at beautifying neighborhoods and helping homeowners unable to keep up with maintaining their homes.

It was the second time this summer that volunteers met at the city public works garage and fanned out on Foster Avenue, targeting specific homes in need of a fresh coat of paint, minor repairs or basic landscaping.

“We really appreciate everyone’s time and effort because it makes a significant effort in our ongoing efforts to revitalize the city of Schenectady as a whole,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said at a news conference Saturday. “It really is making a difference. It’s drawing attention to the community, and what I always say is we are creating value here, working to improve our housing stock and attract people to Schenectady. We’re showing people that housing opportunities exist here.”

The project is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the city.

For Habitat, it’s part of an initiative launched two years ago, A Brush with Kindness, that serves low-income homeowners who are elderly or disabled and can’t maintain their home. It’s also part of the city’s Home Ownership Made Easy in Schenectady program, which has begun identifying neighborhoods that would most benefit from beautification.

Volunteers will take to other neighborhoods next spring, said Jeff Clark, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County.

“We will be back and take all the things we learned from this effort and figure out where and how to expand and improve what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s a major initiative to help people stay in their houses, and the houses we’re working on most today are [owned by] people who are just in situations where their houses have run down and they don’t really have the ability to do much about it.”

Goose Hill Neighborhood Association President Camille Sasinowski was awestruck to see college students up and working by 8 a.m. They were also joined by volunteers from Price Chopper, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital and Ellis Medicine.

“I never thought college students got up this early on a Saturday morning,” Sasinowski joked. “I am so deeply, deeply appreciative of everyone’s efforts.”

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