Northland homes get some TLC from Ameristar Casino and Northland Neighborhoods Inc.

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KANSAS CITY NORTH, Mo. -- Workers at Ameristar Casino are helping fix up homes north of the river Wednesday as part of a special program organized by Northland Neighborhoods. The Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation donated $25,000 to the home improvement campaign.

"That's a very generous contribution from Ameristar," said Deb Hermann, CEO of Northland Neighborhoods Inc. "We need to get a lot more corporations and businesses. And that's happening for us -- recognizing the need in the Northland and assisting us to get it done."

Hermann says there's a perception that all homes north of the river are nice and new. But many neighborhoods are older, with homes built before those south of the river.

Northland Neighborhoods provides homeowners money to repair and rehab older homes, many with code violations or safety problems. Wednesday eight volunteers from Ameristar Casino are helping paint a Northland house for a couple that qualified for the program. Ten thousand dollars is being spent on the home for roof repairs, new windows, new gutters and a new asphalt driveway. The neighborhood group says this helps prevent blocks from becoming blighted, and keeps families living north of the river.

"It's the right thing to do," said Celeste Burks, one of the volunteers from Ameristar. "We love to get out in the community and volunteer, and help those that are in our community. We know that we live here, our team members live here and work here. We want to help the community."

Since 2006, Ameristar workers have volunteered more than 12,000 hours working on Northland homes. And homeowners say they are grateful for the rehab that's being done. As part of the program, if they continue to live in their homes for the next five years, they won't have to pay anything for the improvements.

Many of the people served by this program are elderly or disabled. They've been in their homes for more than a decade, but can no longer afford the high costs of repair and upkeep.

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