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Gainesville Partnership Gives New Life to Old Homes

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Julia Minors had minor renovations, including a new paint job, done on her home Sept. 11. Minors was one of the Gainesville residents to receive free paint and low-cost renovations through the Partnership for Paint.
Julia Minors had minor renovations, including a new paint job, done on her home Sept. 11. Minors was one of the Gainesville residents to receive free paint and low-cost renovations through the Partnership for Paint.” credit=”Seantyel Hardy / WUFT News

Widowed and 84 years old, Julia Minors, and her puppy, Coco, had no one to complete even the most trivial repairs on their home until Minors heard about a paint voucher program from a friend.

Minors’ home received renovations to her house at little cost through Partnership for Paint, a program sponsored by Gainesville’s Community Redevelopment Agency in association with a separate program by Alachua Habitat for Humanity.

Before the partnership came along, the original Community Redevelopment Agency’s paint voucher program was developed in 2012 by its staff, said Malcolm Kiner, project manager.

That program currently operates in two districts in Gainesville: Fifth Avenue Pleasant Street and Eastside.

“We had a budget of $5,000 with a goal of providing paint and painting supplies to 10 homes, using up to $500 per home in a calendar year,” Kiner said.

To be considered, the homes have to be within that area, could not have any preexisting code violations, and the homeowner would have to power wash the house before renovations could begin.

In March, the agency expanded its paint voucher program to the Eastside residential area and began partnering with an Alachua Habitat for Humanity program, A Brush With Kindness.

A Brush With Kindness was created to help revitalize and improve neighborhoods, said Scott Winzeler, executive director.

The difference between A Brush with Kindness and the Community Redevelopment Agency program lies within the available resources. While the Community Redevelopment Agency only provides a voucher for up to $500 for paint and painting supplies, A Brush with Kindness includes other repairs.

The two initiatives came together and created Partnership for Paint, which serves a separate area within the Eastside Redevelopment Area known as the Greater Duval neighborhood.

Partnership for Paint gave Minors’ home a new look.

Minors received the $500 voucher from the Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as labor, the power-washing requirement and some carpentry work from the Alachua Habitat for Humanity. She paid $400 out of pocket.

Winzeler said, regarding the out-of-pocket costs, the program is a “hand-up not a handout.”

The A Brush with Kindness renovations, including administrative fees, testing and power washing, can cost about $1,250 for a 1,250-square-foot home. The Community Redevelopment Agency voucher covers the cost of paint, and there’s where you have the partnership.

“If you allow people to take part in their repairs, you allow their pride to grow,” Winzeler said. “You allow them to feel like this is their home, and they’re really taking care of it.”

Minors said she did not mind the extra costs and is enjoying the renovation.

“I love the way they fixed my house,” Minors said. “I sure do; they did a good job.”

The money contributed by the Community Redevelopment Agency comes from a tax increment. Whenever property taxes increase in a redevelopment area due to growth in that community, the difference comes back to the agency. The agency puts that right back into that community, Kiner said.

The agency plans to expand its program to the Downtown district within the next two months. They are now opening the newest application cycle for homes in the Eastside district.

In order to participate in Partnership for Paint, applicants must apply to both the CRA’s paint voucher program and Alachua Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness.

The amount that families will pay out of pocket will depend on their income, Kiner said.

“When you paint a house you increase its longevity, you increase its value, you increase its curb appeal, you increase the spirit of the neighborhood,” Winzeler said. “So many things are addressed when you paint a house.”

About Seantyel Hardy

Seantyel is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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