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Habitat for Humanity turns its attention to three ‘priority homes’ in North East Hamilton

A “community beautification” initiative will bring out volunteers to spruce up needy homes in North East Hamilton.

The three-day campaign, augmented for one day by a team of 50 US Coast officer cadets, is aimed at launching a long-term commitment to the neighbourhood.

Dubbed the Bermuda Habitat Challenge, the campaign sprang from a new partnership between the Economic Empowerment Zone (EEZ) initiative, and the charity Habitat for Humanity Bermuda.

“Three residences in the area will be given makeovers,” explained Nicola Feldman, director of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, which is responsible for running Habitat for Humanity Bermuda.

“The families comes to us, we do a home visit, and we decide the houses on a needs-test basis. The EEZ then selects the residences that we’re going to work with.”

A broader initiative to tidy up that area of Hamilton has been “waiting on funding”, she said.

“This is intended to kick it off with volunteer-based work.”

The idea is based off the ‘Brush with Kindness’ model developed by the US-based affordable housing group Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s about doing small-scale repairs, renovations and improvements to neighbourhoods, to make them look cleaner and safer,” Ms Feldman said.

The July 1 to 3 “community days” are intended to spur donations and initiate more of the skilled labouring work necessary for Bermudian housing.

Building houses and helping with no-interest loans isn’t feasible for Bermuda, Ms Feldman said, because of the high cost of building.

Talks with the EEZ have been ongoing since October to start long-term community works in the EEZ.

The North East Hamilton zone runs from King Street to Cedar Avenue and from Victoria Street to Parsons Road.

Three “priority homes” with elderly residents or children will get “fix-its”, Ms Feldman said, for “plumbing, electricity, doors and windows — covering the basic needs”.

The group is calling on businesses to allow interested staff members out for a day to join in the work.

Fifteen volunteers per house means 45 volunteers required for each day — but they’ll have help.

“The US counsulate has been a supporter of Habitat here for quite a few years,” Ms Feldman explained. “On the first day, 50 US Coast Guard cadets from the cutter

Eagle will be participating.”

Launched in 2000, Habitat for Humanity Bermuda remains an independent charity, but is currently run by the Coalition.

The “community days” for Hamilton’s historically neglected neighbourhoods is a plan by the organisation to do the most it can with limited funding.

Added Ms Feldman: “It’s frustrating that where there is the most need, the projects are often too big or too expensive.”

Roxanne Christopher, development officer for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, said the North Hamilton EEZ was seeing “significant growth”.

Last year, Bermuda’s first apartment complex, Princess Terrace on Princess Street, got a cleanup with the help of 100 volunteers from HSBC Bermuda, she said.

“We’ve always had a lot of support from the corporate community,” Ms Christopher said.

Calling it “an area with a lot of community pride”, she gave the example of a resident who sweeps the pavement and road daily on Union Street, where the BEDC is based.

For more information, or to donate to the cause, e-mail: habitat@northrock.bm.

Useful website: www.bedc.bm.

Photo by Akil Simmons A residential street in North East Hamilton - the area to be targeted for a tidy-up by Habitat for Humanity Bermuda in tandem with the Economic Empowerment Zone initiative.

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Published April 24, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm)

Habitat for Humanity turns its attention to three ‘priority homes’ in North East Hamilton

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