PORTLAND, Maine — With paint donated by Benjamin Moore Paints and time donated by local painters, rooms in the city of Portland’s Chestnut Street family shelter got fresh coats of color Thursday, saving the city money and lifting morale at the site.
“Just by giving it fresh color, it seems more like a home and less like an institution,” said Katherine Moore, 27, who has been staying at the shelter with her husband and young son for about three days.
Moore and her husband both recently found jobs after returning home to Maine from California, where the economy hit them hard and left them unable to keep up with their bills.
“This place has been a great stepping stone,” Moore told the Bangor Daily News. “Without it, we would’ve been living out of our car until that first or second paycheck came in.”
Volunteers from several Portland-area companies helped apply the paint, including Stella Esposito Painting, Kelley Painting, Theodore Logan & Sons, and C.H. Rosengren Painting & Repairs.
The local work is part of Benjamin Moore’s Color Care Across America project, in which more than 7,000 gallons of paint are being donated to 60 shelters across the United States and Canada. Supporting the project are the United States Conference of Mayors and the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.
“No. 1, it’s money the city isn’t spending,” Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said Thursday. “No. 2, it creates a much brighter space. There’s a lot of people using this area, and it’s important to make it feel as much like a home as we can for them. These are people dealing with some of the most difficult experiences of their lives.”
The city’s family shelter at 54 Chestnut St., which includes a tandem building across the street, is currently at capacity housing 77 people.
“What we strive for is a safe, clean, dignified environment,” said Douglas Gardner, director of the city’s Department of Health and Human Services. “This grant opportunity has allowed us to get to a place where [rooms] are completely painted up, when that typically would have been done over the course of a year, month-by-month as we chipped away at it.”