LakewoodAlive helping qualified residents cross off house painting from spring to-do list

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home. That’s the message LakewoodAlive is spreading this spring as its annual Paint Lakewood Program kicks off for the 2021 season.

“Paint Lakewood Program helps reduce the cost of exterior painting for low- to moderate-income families,” LakewoodAlive Housing & Internal Operations Director Allison L. Urbanek said. “The program is also designed to help a home look better, but also make it safer.

“We know our housing stock is older and there’s lead paint. We want to get a fresh coat of paint on those houses so we can prevent any blistering or peeling lead-based paint (from) affecting our families, communities and animals.”

Qualified Paint Lakewood Program applicants (homeowners and residents), who must meet HUD-established income guidelines with other restrictions, can receive up to a $4,500 grant for exterior paint, supplies and professional labor costs.

The Community Development Block Grant-related funds are dispersed on a sliding scale of income categories. Urbanek said LakewoodAlive will also help those homeowners in further financial need find resources to cover additional costs.

“We get about $40,000 to push out into the community,” Urbanek said. “All the money that comes to us from the city goes back out into Lakewood to paint the houses.”

Originally started as Lakewood’s “Operation Paint Brush” initiative, LakewoodAlive took over the program from the city in 2009. At that point, it was changed from a reimbursement program for $500 and materials.

In a non-pandemic year, Urbanek said the program normally assists roughly 12 homes; however, last year, due to the stay-at-home spring, that number increased to 15 residences.

“This year, we already have a waiting list of people who wanted to get the application,” Urbanek said. “We’ve never had that before. We’re preparing for a huge paint season. We’re going to do our best to meet the needs of the community.”

Urbanek stressed that LakewoodAlive can help residents even if they don’t qualify for the Paint Lakewood Program.

“We may be able to help you find a contractor or set you up with another program,” Urbanek said. “It’s worth a phone call. We encourage everyone to reach out if they’re interested to learn more.

“A fresh coat of paint not only makes the house look amazing, but it also makes you feel better.”

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