A Washington, D.C.-based housing revitalization group andSeattle-headquartered insurer Safeco announced a new communitybuilding initiative today that will use volunteers in severalcities to repair homes for the poor and elderly.

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Safeco and NeighborWorks America said the program is aimed atimproving neighborhoods and living conditions for thousands offamilies.

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The joint announcement said the five-city Safeco Community BuildProgram in partnership with NeighborWorks America will “strengthenneighborhoods from the ground.”

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Six local NeighborWorks network organizations will organizevolunteers to complete more than 20 community beautification,rehabilitation, housing and homeowner education projects in theircommunities using a $500,000 grant to NeighborWorks America fromSafeco, the project partners said.

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The six NeighborWorks organizations participating in the SafecoCommunity Build Program are: Beyond Housing, St. Louis; CentralArea Development Association, Seattle; IMPACT Group, Duluth Ga.;NeighborWorks, Waco, Texas; Reynoldstown Revitalization Corp.,Atlanta; and Westside Housing Organization, Kansas City, Mo.

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Safeco said it will call on company employees and independentinsurance agents to work side-by-side with residents andNeighborWorks network member staff.

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In all, the company said about 1,000 Safeco employees andcommunity residents nationwide will donate 8,000 volunteer hours tolend a hand to elderly, disabled or low-income residents who areunable to keep their homes in safe condition on their own.

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Volunteers will repair roofs, repaint homes, build access rampsand tackle other hands-on projects.

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“The Safeco Insurance Community Build Program is an excellentopportunity for NeighborWorks network members to assist householdsthat need a helping hand,” said Ken Wade, NeighborWorks Americachief executive officer.

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Paul Hollie, assistant vice president, Safeco CommunityRelations, said the company is partnering with NeighborWorksAmerica “because their network organizations understand thecommunities they serve and know where we can make the greatestpositive impact.”

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Information about the Safeco Community Build Program inPartnership with NeighborWorks America is available from DouglasRobinson, NeighborWorks America, 202-220-2360, or Paul Hollie,Safeco Insurance, 206-545-3048.

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