Paint the Town with Boise’s Neighborhood Housing Services
By Rachel Holt
Every year in May and June, teams of eager volunteers gather together to make our community a better—and more attractive—place to live. Organized by Neighborhood Housing Services, Boise’s Paint the Town event is one of the most popular volunteer community service events in the Treasure Valley.
For 33 years, Neighborhood Housing Services, a local non-profit, has helped community members to discover that “there’s no place like home,” offering services to help with home ownership, education, and counseling as well as sponsoring community events including Paint the Town and Rake Up Boise.
“Neighborhood Housing Services in general is not that well known. A lot of our free resources are underutilized. We have resources on buying a home, helping with working on budgets, and so much more,” says Lesley Krone, Director of Community Engagement.
Aside from the educational resources they offer, Neighborhood Housing Services also owns affordable apartments. This housing has been home to a variety of community members including refugees since the 1990s. The organization offers residence assistance and often bring services on-site including financial classes, English classes, and after-school programs for children.
Paint the Town is an annual event where teams of volunteers get together to paint the homes of seniors and disabled community members. This year, 50 homes will be painted by an estimated 1,200 volunteers. The event runs from May 30 through June 13, the last day to complete painting projects. May 30 marks the Kickoff Event that community members can attend. There will be family-friendly activities, and volunteers can pick up their supplies.
Krone shares, “It’s heartwarming to see the recipients of the program. For some, their home has been in the family a long time or their family has moved away and they just aren’t able to maintain their house like they wish they could. We are helping them live in the house longer and beautifying their homes.”
To have your home considered for Paint the Town, community members need to complete an application through Neighborhood Housing Services. To qualify, applicants should be over 65 or disabled and own their own homes. The application is due each year at the beginning of April.
“For Paint the Town, each year we receive about twice as many applications for homes than we are able to do at this time,” Krone said, noting the need for even more community involvement. “We appreciate our volunteers and anyone in the community who wants to help out will help us reach out to more people.”
Neighborhood Housing Services accepts volunteers for Paint the Town each year until early April. Other volunteer opportunities such as Rake Up Boise, working in their Community Garden, providing ESL assistance, and many others are available year round.
If you missed your opportunity to volunteer this year for Paint the Town, you can still contribute to the event with the Buy a Bucket donation program. With this program, you can donate buckets of paint to the project. Each bucket donation receives a raffle entry for the drawing on June 15; the top prize is two roundtrip tickets from Alaska Airlines.
Since its inception, Paint the Town has completed over 3,110 projects in our community, and 38,432 gallons of paint was used by 85,318 volunteers who believe in a better Boise.
For more information about NHS services, volunteering, and donation opportunities, check out their website at: http://www.nhsid.org/. For more information about Paint the Town event, visit http://www.nhsid.org/what-we-do/paint-the-town-boise .