ghetto_neighborhood.jpgBROWNSVILLE — Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida is rounding up volunteers and donations for its annual Community Paint and Beautification Day.

This year, the volunteers will help more than 250 residents of Brownsville, a neighborhood in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, spruce up their community.

“Paint Day” is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, March 12.

Brownsville is among the neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis, with many houses  in foreclosure, boarded-up or abandoned. Property values have declined and residents have been showing little interest in trying to beautify the area.

Volunteers are expecting to paint the exteriors of 15 homes of low and middle-income families and landscape the front yards.

Citizens for a Better South Florida, an environmental education non-profit organization will be part of the initiative. The group has helped to plan and implement the event for the past three years and will provide urban greening and community forestry education to Brownsville homeowners on creating and maintaining a native landscape in their homes.

Besides helping to landscape the community with native plants and trees of each homeowner’s choosing, Citizens for a Better South Florida will provide the landscaping materials and staff to help in the event. 

Miami-Dade County, through its Office of Sustainability, will hold a home energy savings workshop, weatherize homes and exchange shower heads and light bulbs for energy-efficient ones.

The aim of that component will be to help residents reduce their energy and water consumption in order to save money and protect the environment.

“Through Paint Day, residents are able to show their love and pride for Brownsville and their commitment to see it prosper,” said Arden Shank, president of Neighborhood Housing Services.

“All South Floridians have a responsibility to help our neighbors with projects like this to show that we are one united community who want to improve our streets and neighborhoods for everyone to enjoy,” Shank said.

The non-profit organization’s mission is to provide affordable housing and help with neighborhood revitalization in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The organization said it recently purchased a plot of abandoned land in the Gladeview neighborhood near Brownsville, to build 27 affordable single-family homes.

The more you know

Donations and volunteer applications are being accepted for the Paint Day event.  For more information, to donate or to register for the event, call 305-751-5511 ext. 1155 or e-mail