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New program aims those in need of home repairs

Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County has built homes from the ground up, but now the all-volunteer organization is gearing up for a new pilot program in Erwin that will assist low-income homeowners struggling to maintain the exterior of their homes.
The program, called “A Brush With Kindness,” is a holistic approach to providing affordable housing and assisting communities, as well as families.
Habitat for Humanity will accept applications from Jan. 15 and Feb. 15.
The program is known worldwide for building homes for those in need, and the Unicoi County program has done that locally.
“A Brush With Kindness” will work on a similar plan – partnering with selected families who are willing to help in the process.
Habitat’s volunteers will help homeowners with exterior maintenance that can include painting, minor exterior repairs, landscaping, weatherization and exterior cleanup.
The homes and families chosen will be based on income, need and a willingness to partner.
In addition to its volunteers, Habitat uses donated materials and takes no profit for their services.
Payments made by the homeowners are placed in a revolving fund to help the program serve others in need. Homeowners agree to take out a no-interest loan through Habitat for Humanity.
“A Brush with Kindness” ensures families live in safe and well-maintained homes. The program is designed to revitalize the appearance of a neighborhood, encourage connections within the community, and, most importantly, help preserve affordable housing stock.
Applications may be obtained at the office of Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County, located at Centenary United Methodist Church, 203 N. Elm Ave. in Erwin. Applications must be completed and returned to HfHUC no later than Feb. 15.
“A Brush with Kindness” projects will begin in mid-March and will be prioritized based upon need.
For more information come by the Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County office, or the offices of Erwin Church of God, Erwin Presbyterian Church, or Shallow Ford Baptist Church.
Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing.
“A Brush with Kindness” projects are financed under the same model as HfH homes. Qualifying applicants will be given a not-for-profit loan, which will be paid back to HfHUC with no interest charged, and those funds will be used to fund future projects.