Today we have one challenge, one happy update and one ending to a gun dispute.
Painting season’s just a few dry days away, and Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful is gathering teams to transform shabby homes into jewels.
Now in its 28th year, the Associated Ministries program has painted 2,031 homes.
That history of beautification is not just about the transformative power of exterior latex. It’s about standards and attitude: Pretty neighborhoods where residents know each other give criminals the feeling that they’re being watched.
Last year, crews repainted 41 homes for senior and disabled people living on low incomes.
This year, they have 153 applications from Tacoma, Bonney Lake, Buckley, Edgewood, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Graham, Key Peninsula, Lakewood, Milton, Puyallup, Roy, Spanaway, Parkland, Sumner and University Place.
How many they paint is up to us.
“As many teams as we can muster is the number of houses we can do,” said director Greg Newkirk.
Individual volunteers and small groups are welcome.
Newkirk and his deputies have checked out every house and will winnow entries to the 80 most in need of work.
Already, they’re inviting back prior volunteers, but they need scores more to hit 80 homes.
Newkirk, who volunteered 17 years before he accepted the director’s job last year, is a pro at the hard sell and the heart sell.
“We maintain affordable housing. We eliminate blight in our neighborhoods,” he said. “We bring together a sense of community, and most importantly we lift the spirits of those cherished members of our community who really need assistance.”
Teams commit to finish the work on a house – a job that averages about 160 work hours and takes at least two work parties. Team leaders take a training session, meet with a technical adviser and set up work days with the homeowner.
Teams get paint, caulk and technical advice. They round up most of their tools, from rollers to scrapers to ladders. If no one on their team owns a pressure washer, they cozy up to someone who does.
This year, they’re gathering gardening tools, too. “We have yard cleanup opportunities that are new to the program,” Newkirk said.
For that, they’re looking for topsoil, wood chips, plants and landscaping pros, along with their usual painting supplies and ladder jockeys.
Interested? Visit www.paintbeautiful.org. Call 253-426-1505 or assistant Jean Kampen at 253-383-3056, ext. 142, to reserve a place at one of three evening training sessions in June.
Catholic Community Services leaders are thrilled at the speed with which plans for a $13.3 million homeless services center made the short list for funding.
In March, I wrote how local advocates for the chronically homeless were planning to build a much-needed central place for services by 2015, but that the transition period could get rough.
Now they say the new Nativity House will be finished in mid-2014.
That has brought a sigh of relief to the Hilltop, where Tacoma Avenue Shelter and Hospitality Kitchen won’t have to spend three to five years combined or relocated to make way for the new building at South Yakima Avenue and 14th Street.
“We are moving much more quickly than originally planned,” said Jim Anderson, co-director of CCS’s Homeless Adult Services. “We are not going to be combining the Kitchen and Nativity House, or moving the shelter.”
The new Nativity House will combine the kitchen, drop-in center, shelter beds, services and 50 small apartments. CCS is raising additional funds and working with architects and engineers so construction can begin next summer.
Finally, the 253-in-a-gun design that angered many fans of the 253 heart is on its own.
Steve Naccarato had started taking orders for items bearing the firearm logo on the website of his business, Republic of 253. The marketing backfired with a clientele hurt by what looked like a reference to Tacoma’s worst gang days.
“At this point I think Ro253 is going in a different direction,” Naccarato said Tuesday.
Those who still want the gun design can buy it directly from the artist, Jesse Arneson.
Republic of 253 continues to carry Arneson’s other designs, including a native salmon that has gotten tasty reviews from Republic of 253’s virtual visitors.kathleen.merryman @thenewstribune.com 253-597-8677 blog.thenewstribune.com/street