COCONUT GROVE, FLA. (WSVN) – – More than 100 volunteers gathered in the historic West Coconut Grove area to make critical repairs to homes, Saturday morning.

The project was made possible through the efforts of Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, as well as a donation of over $200,000 from The Home Depot Foundation.

City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell also helped designate funds amounting to $300,000 through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.

“We’re trying to preserve these homes in West Coconut Grove, especially these shotgun homes which tell the story of our city,” said Russell. “These were the founders of our city that helped build Miami, and the least we can do is help them stay in their homes, make them efficient, make them affordable and make them beautiful.”

Russell was among the volunteers repairing homes in the area, Saturday. About nine homes were revitalized during the project.

The project’s purpose is considered important, as the rebuilding process will benefit residents like veterans, the elderly and others in neighborhoods that are rapidly becoming gentrified.

“West Coconut Grove is right between Coral Gables and the rest of Coconut Grove, so it’s under a lot of pressure for displacement, gentrification,” said Russell. “A lot of development speculation going on here, which is fine. Progress is something that happens, but I think it’s our job to help preserve some of the story of the community.”

The renovation process included landscaping, exterior painting, fixing bathrooms and kitchens, as well as installing new roofs.

“This is the core of what our job is and should be as elected officials to help our community,” said Russell. “With a crisis of affordability that we have, one thing we can do is help people stay in their homes.”

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