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Brush Up Nebraska partners with Project Houseworks to help seniors with home improvement

Posted at 6:01 AM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 09:55:21-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — 

Volunteer/home-painting application:

Virginia Torrez has lived at South 22nd Street for three decades.

"A lot of people's gone and come and I'm still here ... but I like it," Torrez said.

Over the years, it's gotten harder and harder for Torrez to take care of her home.

"My roof was leaking, I was getting water in the house ... when my grand-kids come over they said grandma you better put out another pan," she said.

Better than a pan, is project housework, a local nonprofit.

"I would never get it done," she said. It would probably fall a part.

Instead, for no cost, Torrez has a new roof and modified bathroom.

"Our hope is that they stay in their home," Project Houseworks Sara Zivny said.

Project Houseworks is getting extra muscle by teaming with Brush up Nebraska. It's a community-based volunteer program that paints houses for seniors.

For the past thirty years volunteers with the group have painted nearly 3,000 homes.

Founders, Tom and Sheila Pettigrew say they need at least 1,400 volunteers for paint day. The reward?

"I mean you go by and you look and the teams, [and] I think that's one thing that makes the volunteers feel so good is at the end of the day, they have this beautiful new looking house." Sheila Pettigrew said.

This year will be bittersweet for the couple, it's Brush Up's 30th Anniversary and the Pettigrews are retiring.

"It has never been a chore, we've gotten through 30 years and maybe we're getting to the point where it's a little more difficult for us but ... we've been through everything so there's nothing that surprises us," Tom Pettigrew said.

And now, with Project Houseworks and Brush Up Nebraska merging, more low-income seniors can get the help they need.

Torrez loves the improvements so far and is eager for August when her house gets a new coat.

You can find more information on how to become a volunteer, as well as an application for eligible seniors to get their homes painted at