Painting program lags 2013 participation

Aug 12, 2014

The number of people taking advantage of the Brush Up Hutch program is lagging behind that of a year ago. But as Neighborhood Standards Office Roy Little said, “The year’s not over.”

In a report to the Community Improvements Commission on Tuesday, Associate City Planner Amy Denker said that six paint projects have been completed in 2014, compared with 10 at the same point a year ago. However, 16 more projects are in the pipeline, including at least three houses, and possibly four, that will be painted by volunteers on the United Way Work Day later this month, Denker said.

In all, 24 houses were painted with funds from the program in 2013, which was by far the program’s most successful year since its inception in 2011.

Brush Up Hutch was created to encourage people to better maintain their homes by offering to reimburse income-qualified home owners for up to $300 of the cost of exterior paint for their homes. To qualify, they must be residents of Hutchinson, must own and reside in the home to be painted, cannot own any other property and cannot have income exceeding 120 percent of the median family income in Reno County.

For this year, the income limits are $46,080 for a single person, $52,680 for a household of two, $59,280 for a household of three, $65,760 for a household of four, $71,040 for a household of five, $76,320 for a household of six, $81,600 for a household of seven and $86,880 for a household of eight or more people.

Forty-six houses have been painted using the program since 2011, about half of them by volunteers who came to the aid of elderly or disabled people who could not paint the houses themselves or afford to hire someone to do it for them.

Planning and Development Director Jana McCarron said that because the city cannot coordinate volunteer work because of liability concerns, city officials, Interfaith Housing Services and the Hutchinson Community Foundation have been discussing creating a volunteer coordinator position at Interfaith.

She said that Interfaith has applied for a grant of $15,000 a year for two years from the Community Foundation. She suggested that the City of Hutchinson could contribute an additional $3,000 a year for two years from unspent Brush Up Hutch funds. Interfaith would have to raise about $32,000 more to pay for the salary and liability insurance for the position, which would coordinate volunteer work not only on Brush Up Hutch paint projects but also on other residential repair and rehabilitation projects by Interfaith.

About $6,000 a year is allocated by the City Council to Brush Up Hutch, and the program now has about $11,300 in its account, McCarron said. She estimated that the program could provide $3,000 a year for the coordinator and dedicate $2,400 a year to reimbursement for houses painted by volunteer groups and still have $1,700 in the account at the end of 2016.

McCarron said she will prepare a report in writing for the Community Improvements Commission’s consideration at its next meeting on Oct. 14. The commission can only recommend that some of the Brush Up Hutch money be spent on a volunteer coordinator. The final decision, McCarron said, would be up to the City Council.

Any homeowner interested in applying for funds under the Brush Up Hutch program should contact the city’s Planning and Development Department at (620) 694-2639.

Hutchinson News