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With a yard filled with remnants collected from years passed, Claire’s corner lot was in much need of a transformation, but she didn’t have the ability to tackle this project on her own. Through the helping hands of Habitat and community partners, her yard transformed into a haven perfect for a springtime garden.

Habitat’s Home Repair and Preservation Program assists people living on low incomes in the Cully Neighborhood. Through this program, Habitat helps with largescale home improvement projects like roof replacements, and smaller projects like yard clean-up, stair and handrail repair, and power-washing.

A crew of Habitat staff and Thrivent members arrived at Claire’s home and hauled crates full of dried blackberry vines, overgrown ivy, and everyday trinkets that had piled up over the years. They raked up dried leaves, revealing soil ripe for planting the geraniums and impatiens Claire has wanted for so long.

“It feels wonderful,” Claire said. “This is the first time it’s been cleaned up.”

The clutter now cleared, she and her family look forward to installing a water garden through a rain irrigation system. It will help offset rainwater travelling to the gutters and aid Claire in keeping her proposed garden lush and green all year round.

“It was too much to do by myself,” she said. “I would recommend Habitat to my neighbors. It saved me a lot of money and I’m happy my children won’t have to worry about the yard anymore.”

Claire has lived in the craftsman-style home in Northeast Portland for almost her entire life. Her father built it in the 1940s, from the dark wooden beams shaping the living room to the den above the garage. She started Kindergarten and graduated high school in this home; it is the home she returned to when her mother needed company. It housed a multigenerational family then as it does now. She hopes to leave it to her children one day.

She said it’s important to keep her mind active and looked forward to more days outside when it gets warmer. In addition to her work at a gift shop downtown, she likes to decorate her living room with small antiques to give the house more life. She even painted the dark wood paneling a soft pink to liven up the space. Now that the yard’s cleared, she’s set her eye on sprucing up the land by planting hardy flowers and vegetables that withstand next winter’s chill – a little piece of spring in the wintertime.

“It just warms my heart to have this work done,” Claire said. “It’s such a relief. Thank you.”

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