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City receives award for ‘Brush with Kindness’ program


Dec. 13, 2013
<b>Robert Perry of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (left) presents Mayor Michael Bissonnette with a certificate of recognition acknowledging the city’s role on the “Brush with Kindness” program.</b> <br>Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

Robert Perry of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (left) presents Mayor Michael Bissonnette with a certificate of recognition acknowledging the city’s role on the “Brush with Kindness” program.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs

news@thereminder.com

CHICOPEE – The city has received recognition for its participation in a pilot program that has helped elderly and disable residents restore their homes.

Robert Perry, president, and Fred Doherty, board member, of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, presented Mayor Michael Bissonnette with an award of recognition for the city’s part in the “Brush with Kindness” program.

Bissonnette explained the program dovetailed with efforts undertaken by the city’s Law department to identify and address 200 problem properties in the city. Working with the homeowner, Bissonnette said that in 90 percent of the cases issues ranging from tall grass to unsafe conditions could be addressed. With only 10 percent of the properties requiring court action.

Through this process, habitat and the city found candidates for the program in the Willamansett neighborhood and volunteers helped homeowners who couldn’t complete the repairs themselves.

Dohtery, the chair of the program, said with the mayor’s support, “The doors opened for us. There wasn’t one person who said ‘I’m not interested in helping you out.’”

The program allows the financially strapped, the disabled and the elderly to stay in their homes, Bissonnette explained.

Bissonnette said that one home addressed by the program was completely covered inn vines and it was because the homeowner was physical unable to tackle the job.

“While it’s a good start, it’s only a beginning, Bissonnette said. “The need is great.

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