Volunteers for Neighborhood Revitalization Campaigns Get to Work

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Volunteers help paint the side of a home Volunteers help paint the side of a home

Dozens of homeowners in Charlottesville – many of whom are senior citizens- are struggling to keep up on repairs they really need, but are sometimes very expensive.  Now, the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors and the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program are partnering up and stepping in to help.

This week, volunteers are getting their hands dirty and tackling some extreme home makeovers. Volunteers have raised funds for both the Seniors Safe at Home campaign and the 10th and Page neighborhood revitalization project. The projects work to repair homes - improving the health, safety and energy efficiency.

"All I know is what I feel, and I'm excited. I'm ecstatic. I just can't wait. I just can't," said Lutticia Wilhite, a homeowner receiving help.

For Wilhite, the work brings new meaning to the phrase neighbors helping neighbors.

"I know I keep saying excited - that's not really the word for it, because I'm overwhelmed because of what the people are doing to help us," said Wilhite.  

Her home is one of the dozens that will receive some major upgrades thanks to the volunteers.

Ravi Respeto, the development director of AHIP, says their priorities are on improving health, safety and energy efficiency.

"A lot of our clients suffer from high energy bills, and when you're a senior and on Social Security income and it's fixed, you really can't afford a $200 or $300 bill."  

Respeto believe the projects will change the community for the better.

"These projects really do transform communities. It's community development at its best," said Respeto. 

Reported by Alana Austin

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