A collaborate approach to community improvement that launched locally a year ago is now spreading throughout the Kansas City metro area.
Since taking on its first project here in November 2011, A Brush with Kindness — a partnership between the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation, Heartland Habitat for Humanity and the Prairie Village Codes Enforcement department — has rehabbed six homes in the city that had fallen into disrepair, and whose owners weren’t in a financial position to make needed improvements. A seventh project application has been submitted for this year.
For example, volunteers recently replaced the rotting front porch of a house in the 7200 block of Booth Street, and cleaned up extensive overgrowth on a property in the 4200 block of 68th Terrace.
“About three years ago I began to see more and more a need in our community to assist residents who were not physically or financially able to take care of exterior repairs and yard work needed to correct code violations and issuing a ticket was not a solution. There was no solution, no assistance,” said Prairie Village codes enforcement officer Marcia Gradinger. “Then along came this article in the newspaper about Heartland Habitats new program called A Brush with Kindness. I contacted Heartland Habitat, and said ”Tell me more about this program and how can we make this happen in our city?”
The results have been so successful that Heartland Habitat for Humanity’s Kate Fields recently told the Prairie Village City Council that the organization is hoping to use the program’s implementation in Prairie Village as a model for other area communities on both sides of the state line.