Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful-brightening houses and lives

Mar 21st, 2012 | By | Category: Spotlight

Below: A team from St. Francis Cabrini plays around after painting one of two homes they tackled last year. Newkirk says they were instrumental in helping to locate eligible candidates in Lakewood.

This summer will mark the 28th season for Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful.  To date, 2,031 homes have been transformed by groups of dedicated volunteers that keep coming back year after year.

Greg Newkirk, Director of Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful (PTPB), is still looking for applicants who qualify for the program.

This year’s program has about 30 applications so far, and Newkirk would like to see about 100 to 150.

“The deadline is April 9, but for Senior Scene readers, we might extend that application deadline,” he said.

Applicants need to be low income as defined by HUD and either 60 and over, or, if under 60 years of age, they need to have an established disability.

The program, said Newkirk, connects homeowners with volunteers and the community resources and helps them maintain their affordable housing.

“Our primary focus is to help low income elderly and low-income disabled stay in their homes,” explained Newkirk.

Newkirk has been involved as a volunteer since 1992.

“I was a team member and then eventually a team lead for the Weyerhaeuser company crew and then I participated on Mason United Methodist crew for many years,” explained Newkirk, who participated in the program for a number of years before coming on board full time with the Associated Ministries program last year.

“It was a leap of faith,” he said.  “A huge change for me and when the job opened up I said let me go for it.”

Newkirk said they are also going to enhance their yard cleanup activities, specifically in the Lakewood and Tacoma areas and explained that this is a new piece for PTPB.

“This is another opportunity to serve and we’re interested in hearing from organizations that would like to be a part of that,” he said.

PTPB relies on donations from a number of generous organizations. The PTPB group provides all the materials that stay with the home, such as paint thinner, paint, caulking, primer and minor repair materials, and the crews provide everything else, such as the ladders and the labor.

PTPB receives funding from the City of Tacoma, City of Lakewood, Pierce County and also a number of private donations and foundations such as State Farm Insurance, Sequoia Foundation and Grey Lumber, just to mention a few.

Parker Paint has been a long time supporter, said Newkirk. “They give us a significant discount on paint and do amazing work with us every year.”

Newkirk said that so may of the homeowners just need a little help. ‘When you meet them in person, especially during and after, it lifts their spirits and you see the joy and they know that people really do care,” he said.

Volunteers also get a lift from their work with the program, especially those that bring their children along to help.

Volunteers must be eight years and older and children are overseen by adults to be sure quality and safety are maintained.

Anyone who is interested in applying for the program, or volunteering can call Newkirk at (253) 426-1505 or go to paintbeautiful.org on line to download the application.

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