Graco Inc.

Graco supports a project for the homeless in Paris and donates airless paint sprayer

ST max 495 Lo-Boy

APA (Association pour l'Amitié, i.e. Association for Friendship) is a non-profit organization created in 2006 that helps homeless people and others who live outside the society or in social isolation.

APA works in the Paris region. Its biggest project is the creation of shared apartments, where people from different backgrounds live together.

This community life creates a sense of belonging and is favourable for the development of human relationships to which everyone is entitled. It is also APA's way of wanting to demonstrate that, let's say, former prisoners do not have to live in a special home or institution. This year, four projects have been started in the Paris region. In July, work began on renovating two apartments.

The organisation is composed entirely of volunteers and tries to operate with as few resources as possible. It tries to keep life as close to normal as possible. There are no professionals in the organisation, so everyone does what they can, in their own way, according to their abilities.

The property that Graco visited was previously a church council youth institution.It had numerous rooms, spread over four floors, but only one dining room. APA is in the process of renovating the building and converting it into shared apartments. Each floor will operate entirely independently. 

For the current project, professionals are being called in purely for the electricity and plaster-boarding. Responsibilities are divided between the residents themselves, so that each apartment has one person in charge, as does each floor. The people work independently and are responsible for themselves

The current project in Paris is a major project and until recently everything had been painted using a roller. In total, around 100 volunteers had lent a hand, be it for an evening, a weekend or a few hours. As the area to be painted was vast, somebody came up with the idea of hiring a paint spray gun. APA did this twice, and found it to be a very useful tool. But hiring it was not so straightforward. Their next move was to contact a local paint company and ask what machinery they used. The answer was a Graco sprayer. So they contacted Graco even though they did not know anybody at the company. The Communication Manager, Helen Hoskin, put them in contact with Graco's Account Manager for the French market, who donated an ST Max 495.

Graco's representatives were on site to get the machine up and running. They took the time to explain how the machine worked, and to go through the safety and cleaning guidelines to adhere to. Then, work could begin. During the first few hours on site a few practical questions arose, such as how to regulate pressure, but with telephone support from the French Graco team, it was soon resolved. “Although the machine is a professional unit, it is not too complicated for non-professional painters to get the best out of it, after a proper induction,” according to APA. In that sense, the ST Max turned out to be the perfect tool for the job.

In the beginning, the association had some start-up problems with the paint they were using. The composition was probably not ideal for the machine. Then, a major paint supplier in France provided 800 litres of paint, which the ST Max 495 sprays perfectly. Currently, there are only four people within the association working with the machine. “It is important to follow the start-up and cleaning instructions closely. The cleaning is not really a drawback, it is just part of it! You just have to make sure that you are consistent when cleaning the machine, to avoid any problems,” according to APA.

"The two major benefits of the machine are undoubtedly its speed and the quality of the finish. The efficiency is almost magical! The opportunity to see how a door is transformed in 15 seconds ... But apart from these very concrete points, it is very encouraging and heartening for us to receive so much solidarity in times of crisis. If everybody does their bit, this will be a wonderful project!" says APA.


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