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Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008 03:35 am

Home for the holidays

Volunteers near completion of restoration project

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For more than a year, volunteers from Hope Evangelical Church and Loving God Out Loud ministry have been working to restore the 16th Street home of Dorothy Milford, a 71-year-old grandmother who is legal guardian over six grandchildren, ages 6 to 15 [see Dusty Rhodes, "The way back home," April 5, 2007].

Milford was forced to move out of the home she owned when her two youngest grandchildren were diagnosed with lead poisoning, due to the interior and exterior paint on her house. City inspectors documenting the lead problem discovered structural deficiencies and condemned the property. A judge granted a 60-day reprieve, and volunteers have been making documented progress ever since.

Now, there's light at the end of this journey. Nick Stojakovich, director of Hope church's Hope in Action, says all the structural repairs have been completed and new drywall, donated by Negwer Materials and hung by Patterson Drywall employees, has been installed.

"I'm reluctant to give anybody a [move-in] date, but we're hopeful that maybe the second or third week of October," Stojakovich says. "Certainly before Thanksgiving."

A fundraiser for completion of the Milford project (paint, doors, ceiling fans) as well as other service organizations helping the homeless — Helping Hands, Tower of Refuge, and Loving God Out Loud — will be held Sept. 25 at the Camelot Banquet Center, featuring a car raffle, bingo, and a 50/50 drawing. Anyone attending the dinner can also buy a dance with a Jr. Blues hockey player for $5, and bid on a private lunch with Mayor Tim Davlin.

Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.

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