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Project seeks workers, people who need help

February 15, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Young people from Pennsylvania and surrounding states are expected to strap on tool belts and renovate homes this summer for the eighth annual Chambersburg Project.

"We've had tremendous response from kids this year. We've been contacted from churches as far away as New Jersey," Chambersburg Project Inc. Executive Director Barb Moran said Sunday.

During the past seven summers, youths and adult volunteers have helped make the homes of the elderly, disabled and low-income more livable by replacing roofs, fixing plumbing, installing wheelchair ramps and doing other repairs and modifications to their homes. Moran said more than 200 homes have been fixed up since the summer work camp program began.

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Last year, 125 young people and 75 adults did repairs on 45 homes in a week. Moran expects more to take part this summer. The camp will be held during the week of July 10-15, she said.

The work was done on a budget of about $15,000, along with the volunteer labor, she said.

This year, Moran said the Chambersburg Project again has applied to the Franklin County Housing Trust Fund for a grant. The Board of County Commissioners will announce allocations from the fund Tuesday, according to Commissioner Cheryl Plummer.

About $150,000 from the fund will be allocated today, Plummer said last week. Money for the fund comes from fees charged for the recording of deeds and mortgages in the county.

Commissioner Bob Thomas said nonprofit programs such as the Chambersburg Project effectively get assistance to those who need it most. Similar government housing rehabilitation programs have the added cost of complying with more regulations, he said.

The deadline for youths and volunteers to register for the camp is May 31, Moran said. That also is the deadline for people to apply to have work done on their homes, although, "we always take them up to the last minute in an emergency situation," she said.

"In past years, we've gotten up to 100 applications" for home repairs, Moran said. The Chambersburg Project ranks requests before deciding which homes can be worked on during the week.

Volunteers pay $150 to participate in the work camp, with the money covering the costs of feeding and lodging the youths, as well as some of the building supplies. The Chambersburg Area School District has in the past provided space at Chambersburg Area Middle School for volunteers to stay.

Students must have completed seventh grade to participate, Moran said. Adults are needed to supervise and transport the students, along with providing necessary construction skills, she said.

Since March, the Chambersburg Project also began working year-round to renovate homes, Moran said. Volunteers have done about 10 homes in that time, she said.

The Chambersburg Project also runs the Home Improvement Outlet at 2395 New Franklin Road, selling new and used building supplies donated by contractors, businesses and homeowners, she said.

Those interested in participating in the work camp or applying for remodeling may call 717-261-0045.

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