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Looking forward to a warm home this winter

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Clifton resident June Blaisdell expects to be warmer in her home this winter while paying less in utility bills thanks to a weatherization program offered by Housing Resources of Western Colorado.

Using Social Security income and money from a job working at Go-Fer Foods in the Redlands Village shopping center, Blaisdell, 81, had been making yearly improvements on the older mobile home she purchased in 2000.

“It was in bad condition,” Blaisdell said. “I painted the interior; took the popcorn off the ceiling (with help). I worked on this house, one thing at a time.”

Then, in July 2012, Blaisdell became ill, was hospitalized for five days and told she needed to stop working.

“Social Security didn’t cover all my expenses,” let alone home improvements, Blaisdell said.

Her children and grandchildren currently help with living expenses, and Housing Resources recently weatherized Blaisdell’s home for free just in time for winter.

“They installed a new furnace,” — the original was 22 years old and “on its last legs,” Blaisdell said.

She also received five storm windows, weather stripping around doors to prevent air leakage, insulation around the mobile home’s outside skirting, energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, and an inside cover for her swamp cooler.

“They repaired heat ducts in the floor, and tested my insulation in the walls and ceiling,” Blaisdell said.

Blaisdell said she expects a huge change in her utility bills from November through February.

“I was cold last winter,” she said.

Located at 524 30 Road, Housing Resources of Western Colorado is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing affordable housing and promoting wise and sustainable use of resources through its weatherization and other programs.

October is National Energy Awareness Month and Housing Resources is promoting its energy efficiency programs to residents throughout the Western Slope. Housing Resources serves 14 counties in western Colorado.

Anyone who falls within 200 percent of poverty guidelines qualifies for free weatherization, Housing Resources Executive Director Eldon Krugman said. For example, a family of three with an income of $36,600 or less would qualify for free weatherization.

Weatherization services also include furnace safety testing; insulation in attics, walls and perimeters; refrigerator replacement; energy audits and storm doors.

People enrolled in the Low Income Energy Assistance (LEAP) or Old Age Pension Health and Medical Care programs, or those who receive Social Security insurance automatically qualify for the Housing Resources’ weatherization program.

Housing Resources also provides energy conservation information.

“Education is very important,” weatherization program manager Mike Hansen said. “We try to get people to turn down their thermostats (at night), clean their furnace filters, and shrink the size of the home they’re heating (by closing doors of unused rooms).”

“We estimate we’re saving communities more than $1 million a year,” through education and weatherization, Hansen said.

Housing Resources has weatherized more than 6,400 homes in western Colorado, saving homeowners more than $11.5 million in energy costs.

The strongly independent Blaisdell said she is grateful to be able to continue living on her own, and that she can count on being comfortable this winter.

“I’ve worked all my life, and all of a sudden I can’t work,” she said. “This is one of the best programs I ever had any dealings with.”

In 2009, Housing Resources’ offices obtained LEED certification as a high-performing energy-efficient building.

This year, the organization installed solar photo-voltaic panels which provide 90 percent of its electricity use.

“We want to demonstrate you can be just as warm in the winter and cool during the summer, while paying less in utility costs,” Krugman said.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Housing Resources also offers affordable rental housing; a home-building program where people use sweat equity as a down payment; and a housing rehabilitation program where people can secure low or no-cost loans to make home repairs.

For more information, contact Housing Resources at 970-241-2871, ext. 101, or visit the website
www.housingresourceswc.org.





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