Volunteers help spruce up homes in historic Heights community

HOUSTON HEIGHTS (KTRK) -- The usually quiet Independence Heights neighborhood in north Houston was filled with a little more noise than usual on a Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of people worked to give back to a community with a rich history.

More than 340 volunteers for Rebuilding Together Houston and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene Realtors broke out their hammers, paint brushes and power tools to help spruce up homes for senior citizens.

Rebuilding Together is an organization that provides free repairs and renovation programs for elderly, low-income, disabled and veteran homeowners in need.

"They're repairing the homes of elderly folks in Independence Heights who need it. There's not a lot 80-year-olds I know who can jump on a ladder and do some home repairs on their own," Rebuilding Together's Julie Mintzer said.

Volunteers spent all day painting, cleaning up yards and fixing issues on the exterior of six homes in the community. They are much-needed improvements for residents whose homes are a significant part of their lives and where they came from.

"It's more than just a house to them. It's sentimental to their identity and to their heritage," Director of Independence Heights Redevelopment Council Tanya Debose said.

PHOTOS: Volunteers spruce up homes in Independence Heights

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The Independence Heights community was the first city incorporated by African-Americans in the state of Texas, so renovations like the ones being done by Rebuilding Together Houston mean a great deal to residents like 83-year-old Eva Reed. She's lived in her home for 30 years.

"I love it. I'm thankful and it means a lot to me, because this house looked so bad. They have just given it a face lift," Reed said.

Rebuilding Together will be doing much more work in Independence Heights in the coming months. They plan on building a welcome center and food pantry and performing additional renovations.

If you'd like to learn more about the organization, visit RebuildingHouston.org.
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