Updated: November 03, 2021 08:03 PM
Created: November 03, 2021 07:51 PM
Before the snow flies, the City of Duluth is encouraging some people to sign up for help to clear it all.
"This will be our third year offering this program, and we're only able to do it because we have volunteers that are willing to come out and help folks with disabilities to continue their work and their day," shared Carl Crawford, the City's Human Rights Officer.
The goal of the Snow Removal Assistance Program is to help 25 people with disabilities and seniors with snow removal. To be eligible, an individual must live in Duluth, be over the age of 60, and have a disability. This program is for people who are not physically able to remove snow and do not have other resources to remove snow like neighbors, friends, or a hired service.
The program relies solely on volunteers who are committed to helping someone in need for the entire snow season.
"What we've found is that our volunteers have really made some great connections with folks in our community," shared Crawford. "And it's once again an opportunity for all of us to look at our neighbors to the left and to the right, and make sure they're taken care of when we're out clearing our sidewalks."
Due to the limited number of participants, the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. City staff say they will do their best to match volunteers with those requesting snow removal assistance in their area.
"Only shoveling is what they're required to do, and they do that anytime I believe there's two feet of snow," explained Crawford. "They'll come out and help clear off sidewalks and driveways."
Volunteers are asked to remove snow from the door of the resident to the sidewalk, including any steps, and from the public sidewalk along with the property, including curb ramps and curb cuts. Volunteers are not expected to clear snow from cars, driveways, multiple entryways, roofs, etc. The snow removal that volunteers will do ensures that residents can get in and out of their homes, receive deliveries, and meet snow removal requirements.
"For many, it's freedom," said Crawford. "It's an opportunity to get out and still be able to enjoy- you know, winter lasts up here in the Northland almost six months out of the year. so it's an opportunity to get outside, but more importantly, to get to doctors appointments, to see loved ones, and have that opportunity to engage throughout the winter."
Those who are interested in applying to volunteer or those who need assistance can apply on the City of Duluth's snow removal website. Spots fill quickly, so residents are encouraged to apply sooner rather than later. Volunteers are matched as soon as the City has all of the applications and can connect them with the person they will be helping.
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