Southeast Roanoke renovations spur neighborhood improvements

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Some were shoveling dirt in the front yard, while others were hanging drywall inside.

All in a day's work for about 60 young people and their adult leaders from two United Methodist Churches in northern Virginia.

"We've been dry-walling a small bedroom upstairs. It's been quite the process," said Justin Murray from Leesburg United Methodist Church. "It's taken us several hours for each sheet," he said, laughing. "But it's fun. It's good work."

"I'm just really excited for whatever family moves in," added Jordan O'Dell from Wilderness Community Church in Spotsylvania County. "And I hope that this will become their forever home."

If you travel on Jamison Avenue, you've probably noticed the homes where they were working.

Long neglected, they are the third and fourth complete renovations by the group REACH, or Real Experiences Affecting Change.

Tim Dayton is the Executive Director of the non-profit, and the pastor of First Christian Church.

"As we begin to repair the homes and put them back into circulation," Dayton told WDBJ7, "we hope it's making people begin to re-believe in how absolutely beautiful this part of town is."

When someone asks how long it will take to complete the renovation of the two houses, Tim Dayton says October.

He jokes that he also tells them they get to pick the year.

The timetable depends entirely upon volunteer labor, and how many groups, like the two churches in northern Virginia, pitch in to help.