April showers bring May flowers, but it also brings grass and weeds that grow all summer long. What happens when you can no longer mow the grass or trim the hedges and cannot afford to pay for lawn care? To make matters worse, you’ve received a visit from code enforcement. One area of concern facing many older homeowners throughout the year is yard maintenance.
No fear, the Jonesboro City Angels are here!
The City of Jonesboro in Clayton County formed a community service group to help address exterior maintenance problems for its residents. The City Angels, under the leadership of Chief Code Enforcement Officer, Derry Walker, provide assistance to older adults with minor outdoor home repairs and yard work.
Chief Officer Walker has worked with code enforcement for over 17 years, and, in the course of his work, he saw a need in the community to help older homeowners keep their properties up to code. He recounts, “The department was receiving calls concerning the elderly needing assistance. There were some elderly community members living alone and not physically able to perform any outdoor task.”
The City of Jonesboro Code Enforcement Department assembled a team – the Jonesboro Beautification Commission – who oversees the City Angels, community clean-up projects, and the recruitment of volunteers, which includes fraternities/sororities, students from local schools, business owners, and citizens. “Our goal is to have a clean and safe community; a place where all of our citizens can call home. We feel honored to be able to help the elderly community create that clean and safe environment on their own properties. We care about our elderly here in the City of Jonesboro.”
Chief Officer Walker suggests to older people who are having difficulty with yard work to contact their local government to find out if there are resources available. Also, contact the local churches, most of them have teen ministries, deacon boards, and other groups that are willing and able to assist.
He offers this tip for those who have received a notice from code enforcement about their yard, “Once they receive a Notice of Violation (NOV), they must contact code enforcement personnel to acknowledge receipt. If they need more time, make that request known, and time will be granted. They must be honest if they need more time or if they just have no way to remedy the violation.”
This season, consider forming your own team of City Angels to help neighbors in your community pass the summer with a little less worry.
For more information about resources for older people and people with disabilities in the Metro Atlanta area, check out our Search for Services feature, or explore the Empowerline website to be connected with services and information counseling.