Steamboat Springs Five Hillside Village apartments are receiving a facelift from a volunteer group of children and adults who traveled from Allen-town, Pa., to rip out carpets, paint walls and make other repairs needed to improve the residences for low-income people.
"We're having so much fun here, but we also have to remember why we're here," said Michele Reinhard, a member of the Greenawald United Church of Christ mission group. "We're here to do God's work."
The Greenawald UCC mission group, which consists of 17 high school-age students and seven adults, raised about $700 per person to pay for the trip to Steamboat to volunteer their time. The group also is working with Habitat for Humanity to raise enough money to purchase land that can be used to build more low-income housing in the West-End Village near West Acres trailer park.
"They're really great kids," said Jim Ballard, chairman of the development and public relations committee for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. "They were just working their buns off when I was up there working with them (Thursday)."
Habitat for Humanity will receive a $1,000 credit from the Regional Affordable Living Foundation or each renovated apartment. It will use the credit to buy land, Ballard said. RALF owns the Hillside Village apartments and is a partner in the West End project.
After the Greenawald UCC mission group finishes its project, there still will be 50 Hillside Village apartments to renovate.
"We don't have any other groups lined up, but we'd like to have groups from Steamboat help out by renovating one or more of the apartments," Ballard said. "We had hoped to build a house, but we couldn't find any affordable land. We're relying on volunteers in Steamboat (to help with the apartment renovations)."
The Hillside apartments are described by Ballard as "really run down." The blue exterior paint of the building is peeling off and there was about a half an inch of black dirt underneath an old carpet that the mission group tore up, Ballard said. The group also made the place more livable by installing lights and repairing plumbing. One student even used his training to do some electrical work.
"They are doing whatever needs to be done to get people back into the apartments," Ballard said. "The people that will move back into the apartments will be able to live better. It's a real win-win situation for the community."
Habitat for Humanity estimates that lots in the West End Village area will cost up to $35,000. Organizers hope to purchase at least three lots from the funds they receive from the Hillside apartment project, Ballard said.
"There's no other land that is affordable," Ballard said. "We want to buy as many lots as we can and RALF will sell us as many as we can buy, so it's really essential that we make money quickly. This is our only hope that we have right now."
To reach Larissa Keever call 871-4208