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Mission develops new community assistance programs

This article appeared in the July 14 issue of the Progress Times.

The Mission Health Department proposed two new initiatives at the July 10 workshop — a community tool-sharing program and a program that could save a life in an emergency. Once Health Director Steven Kotsatos resolves the last few details, the city will make both available to the public.

COMMUNITY TOOL SHED

The community tool shed program is part of an ongoing effort from Mission to promote beautification in the city. The idea is the city will have a tool shed that residents can borrow from, free of charge, to maintain their lawns. Some of the tools that will be available are lawnmowers, leaf blowers, rakes, shovels, weed eaters, wheel barrels, power washers and chainsaws.

“It’s going to help our residents do it themselves, but [sometimes] they just don’t have the tools to do it,” the health director said. “It helps residents beautify their properties, creates a ripple effect in neighborhoods, ensuring healthy and safe environments. It adds value to our neighborhoods and creates a sense of pride in homeownership and neighborhood beautification.”

Kotsatos said local home improvement companies have already shown interest in the initiative. McCoy’s agreed to donate two gas-powered weed eaters, Lowe’s agreed to donate a couple of lawnmowers and Home Depot and MAE Power Equipment each agreed to donate one type of item. Additionally, the city will purchase items from each store to be business-friendly. Mission will purchase one tool from each location to provide at least two per item.

The city is still working out the details for the borrowing process, but residents will need to fill out an application to check out the equipment for a maximum of 72 hours. And if demand dictates, Mission will create a waiting list for the tools. Residents must submit a copy of their water bill and driver’s license with a matching Mission address on both documents. Borrowers must also return the tools in good condition. If not, the city will issue a temporary penalty to the resident. The staff is still workshopping the forfeiture for damaged items. But at the July 10 workshop, Kotsatos discussed tying equipment damages to the borrower’s water bill and suspending privileges.

As for the shed itself, the mayor prefers the idea of housing the tools in a mobile unit the city can take to events.

“If we get a trailer we can get it wrapped, put our tools in there and take it to different events working with Keep Mission Beautiful, and also help maybe disadvantaged residents, elderly and veterans in need; maybe do a cleanup once or twice a year,” the health director said.

Kotsatos said he hopes to kick off the community tool shed program by the end of July.

ENVELOPE OF LIFE

The medical emergency assistance initiative Envelope of Life is designed to help EMS personnel identify patient needs when dispatched to a home. The envelope refers to a sheet of information with the resident’s contact info, medical history and emergency contacts.

“It’s going to be in a red-colored envelope with a magnet and it will be on the refrigerator,” Kotsatos said. “The other component is having a red sticker on the front door of the house, which will trigger first responders to look for the envelope. But it’s only as good as the information updated on the form.”

Additionally, Kotsatos suggested having a separate envelope for vehicles in the event of a car accident. Residents would put a sticker on the back windshield of their car, which would alert first responders to look in the glove box for the sheet with their information.

The Envelope of Life is in many cities and medical centers throughout the U.S. In Mission, residents can opt into the program and request an envelope with the city when Mission deploys the initiative.

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