‘Rocking the Block’

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ALBERT LEA, MN — If you own a home you understand the upkeep that comes with it, but some in our area own homes that could use a little TLC but do not have the means to do it on their own.

So some local volunteers are doing what they call “Rocking the Block.” It is an effort to fix up four houses around Albert Lea.

“It’s a week long project with volunteers coming out every day and we hope to have them done by Saturday,” said Amanda Weiss of the United Way of Freeborn County.

Each year those who need help can apply for a grant to fix up their homes. Since Albert Lea did not get a small cities loan this year, Weiss and those at the United Way of Freeborn County worked with other area organizations to narrow down houses that needed the most work.

“We worked on going out and looking at the houses before we picked them, and then after determining their different situation, which ones would be eligible for being picked,” Weiss said.

For this homeowner, there was a laundry list of things that could use some work.

“There were some miscellaneous repairs inside like leaky faucets, broken tub surround, loose flooring, there were some water problems with the roof that had been fixed before, but then the Sheetrock needed some patching, so we’re doing some re-texturing,” said Philip Wacholz, project manager for the house.

Volunteers are helping out with all kinds of things. For some, it is as simple as paint.

“We have some contractors that are donating their time when we need more professional expertise, but so many of our volunteers just come from a background of home improvement, do-it-yourself type projects and they jump in and do what they can,” Wacholz said.

Sometimes they are doing what they can more than once.

“Someone comes out one day and their just scheduled to come out one day, but then they end up coming back the next day and the next day and the other neat thing is the homeowners from last year are helping on the houses this year, so it’s a full circle of working together and bringing the community together,” Weiss said.

The homeowner said she is grateful for the community’s support. She has recently undergone shoulder surgery so she has been out of work for a bit. She said she is excited to get back to work in food service when the school year starts back up again.

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