Volunteers clean up rundown homes in Okmulgee

OKMULGEE, Okla. -- A new program in Okmulgee tackles potentially dangerous homes by revamping the property, all done by volunteers.

City officials have worked hard to improve downtown Okmulgee, but the Neighborhood Revitalization Program goes outside those busy streets to neighborhoods to give a little TLC to homes that really need it.

'When you’re in a rut, you just don’t see any way out," said Dalanie Maxey, one of the program's recipients.

Dalanie Maxey has lived in her Okmulgee home for 15 years. After going through hard times, she found her yard overgrown with debris, electric cords hanging low in her yard, and other safety hazards for her two kids.

"The world is bad enough, but when it’s your yard and they can’t even play in the back yard, doesn't make you feel too good as a mom," said Maxey.

She applied to the brand new program and after her home was chosen it was all hands on deck.

Volunteers dedicated weeks to cleaning her yard, building a new door for her storm shelter, and making other improvements to give her children a safe place to play again.

"They came in and they did enough to motivate us and get us back, feeling like we can actually do something with this place," Maxey.

The program received $5,000 from the city. The budget was slated for two homes that were ticketed on multiple occasions for code violations.

"We’re really trying to catch ones that are, hey we know you can’t do something about this but we’re willing to partner alongside of you and help you fix this problem," said Richard Larabee, Okmulgee city councilman.

Dozens of volunteers from eight local churches stepped in and pulled their weight to clean neighborhoods and bring hope back into the community.

"I think that’s the key, for the city to work with the community and organizations in the community and we can see a lot accomplished," said Randy Matthews, a volunteer from Clearview Baptist Church.

The organizers of the program will be looking for funding and new homes to fix, after the fiscal years starts again in July.

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