‘Rock the Block’ week is here

Rock the Block

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – It is a program that aims to fix-up houses in certain neighborhoods, and gives them a fresh look. It is also an opportunity for those who may not be able to do repairs themselves, the much needed help to give their homes some TLC.

“They are really happy about it because, it’s things that would not get done, if it wasn’t for the group,” said Erwin Hall, an Assistant Project Manager for one of the homes.

The work is all part of Shinefest’s “Rock the Block” program. This faith based community in Albert Lea finds homes that could use a little help. This year, nine houses are getting a makeover.

Everything from siding repair, to cement work, and painting to landscaping are on the to-do list.

“This property is owned by a 90-year-old woman that just can’t do outside work. The house needs painting, the weeds need to be pulled around the outside. The ceiling in the kitchen needs work and a light fixture was burned out,” Hall said.

They partner in this with the United Way of Freeborn County.

“[We are] getting volunteers from the businesses and we are the collaborator. We are getting everyone to work together, scheduling volunteers and just doing the logistics of the project,” said Amanda Irvine with the United Way.

The physical work may only take a week to complete, but it is still a year-round project.

“We start in the winter. We find what kind of target neighborhood we’re looking into, and find the project managers. We’re getting them on board with leading the volunteers and all the projects. Then we go out and talk to the homeowners and, survey their houses,” Irvine said.

“There’s not a lot of professional people working here. It’s amateurs that are helping out,” Hall said.

Some of the projects are pretty minor, but others include redoing a driveway that is causing water runoff into a basement. Plus, some are getting a bathroom makeover.

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