Neighborhood revitalization projects were the focus of a morning meeting held by Aiken Habitat for Humanity on Wednesday.
At the Lessie B. Price Aiken Senior and Youth Center, representatives from the Aiken Habitat for Humanity office discussed a program called Neighbor Up.
Program Director Arie Murphy said the project is a "beautification" initiative to fix cosmetic problems homeowners in Wicklow Heights are facing, such as house painting and tree trimming.
"The reason we're starting with the simple beautification of the neighborhood is really to earn their trust, so they know we're going to do what we say we're going to do," Murphy said.
Although the program exists in other areas of Habitat of Humanity across the country, Murphy said it is "brand new" to Aiken County. It came about after Aiken Habitat did research with the City of Aiken to find out if the program was needed in Wicklow Heights.
Homeowners in Wicklow Heights, an area that stretches from Vaucluse Road to Hampton Avenue, can participate in Neighbor Up.
Those in Wicklow Heights wanting to participate must own and reside in the particular home that needs assistance, be in good standing with mortgage and property tax payments, and agree to terms of partnership with Aiken Habitat for Humanity.
Those terms include at least five to 10 hours of sweat equity (volunteer hours) based on the amount of work done.
"We will not ask anyone to do anything they are not capable or don't feel comfortable with doing," Murphy said.
There are no income guidelines to participate in Neighbor Up. Homeowners will have to pay a fee of up to $50 for house care done during Neighbor Up.
Among those services being offered for the program are sanding, pressure washing, cleaning gutters and lawn mowing.
Aiken Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator Shawn Risher, who also spoke at the public meeting, said they hope to do "intensive" projects, such as roof repair, as early as January 2020.
"We plan on branching out throughout the county," Risher said.
For more information about Neighbor Up, call the Aiken Habitat for Humanity office at 803-642-9295.