Paint South Dakota: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Paint South Dakota began by a Board of Commissioners resolution in 1998 to commemorate SDHDA's 25th Anniversary. The Board authorized staff to advertise statewide to find 25 homeowners who were unable to paint their homes. SDHDA would pay for the paint and primer and volunteers would give the home a fresh coat of paint. The program was very well received and has become an annual event in some communities. In the program's 15 years, 410 homes have been painted by 6,124 volunteers, using 8,012 gallons of paint and primer.

NeighborWorks, based in Deadwood, is an annual participant in the program. The agency uses the Paint South Dakota campaign to help out elderly, disabled and low-income families from communities in their service area. Over the years they have painted homes in Central City, Deadwood, Edgemont, Lead, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis and Wall.

Painting six to seven houses each year has been the goal for NeighborWorks, and with the help of volunteers, the agency has been meeting that goal according to Joy McCracken, Executive Director of NeighborWorks. "We like to have 40 volunteers for each project," McCracken stated. "It's really neat watching neighbors come together or when business sectors form teams – like when the Rapid City Police Department formed their own team to help homeowners who weren't able to do the work themselves."

"Seeing the smiles on these homeowners faces is priceless. There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint on a home," commented McCracken. "A sense of pride comes back to these families. It's very exciting for them, almost like they just bought a brand new home."