Habitat for Humanity expands program

By Tasha Martinez

BOYNTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County says since the housing market bust, the need for their help continues to grow.

"We do see a lot of foreclosures in the communities that we're building in," said Michelle Morales, program director for Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County.

So, the organization recently decided to expand its services to reach more families. "I could never really get a home on my own, and Habitat is like a blessing from God, you know, to help out all the families that want to get their own home for the first time," said soon-to-be homeowner Towanda Cox.

This year, the South Palm Beach County chapter is adding taping and paint brushes to the mix. A program they call "A Brush with Kindness".

"A Brush with Kindness is our neighborhood revitalization program," Morales explained. "We are aiming to affect more than one family and one home. We're actually affecting the whole community.

Homes within 350 feet of a Habitat construction site can get a coat of paint, landscaping and clean up.

Sunday morning, they picked a house just two doors down from the new one. Volunteers from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association changed it from white to blue. The homeowner is a recently retired school bus driver.

The program also allows Habitat for Humanity to use younger volunteers. Those building houses need to be at least 16, but painters can be as young as 14. "They get started learning more about community service. It just helps broaden their experience."

Habitat coordinators tell us the new age limit has attracted a larger number of volunteers, allowing them to help more families in a shorter amount of time.

They say that's made them even consider adding a home renovation program to their list.

You can sign up to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County, by visiting their Web site.

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