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Community Action Agencies "Weatherize" Homes For Free

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joyce Delk is among those who will have her home weatherized.

"I'm on Social Security.  And let's face it: we haven't had a raise in years.  It would help a lot if the rent went down a little bit.  Even a little bit helps," Delk said.

Crews will work on making their homes more energy efficient to save money on utility bills.

"They're on fixed incomes, retired on fixed incomes.  Saving them money is the way to go," explains Glenn Miller who heads up weatherization at Community Services, Inc., in Maryville, who services clients in many counties and areas outside of St. Joseph.

The first step in weatherization is an energy audit, where assessors decide what your home needs.

"It's one thing to say my home is very leaky or my home is not very leaky, but how leaky is it?  So we put an actual figure to that and we can really isolate and focus in on those and stop that air-to-air transfer where you have so much heat loss," says Jason Manley, director of weatherization at Community Action Partnership in St. Joseph.

The procedure is more than temporary stopgaps like plastic on the windows.

These are permanent measures that do more than just save people money.

"Safety is part of the program, and we've seen it take lethal situations out of homes; people feel better, they're safer, they're warmer, they're more comfortable, their bills are lower," Manley said.

Years ago, Joyce Delk's sister was feeling sick and tired every day.

"I talked her into the weatherization.  When they came in to inspect her home, they immediately turned the furnace off.  They said 'You have to replace it.'  Her house was full of carbon monoxide.  She got the house weatherized and her furnace replaced and suddenly the headaches and drowsiness was gone.  It saved her life, really," Delk said.

And for those who meet the income standards, the service is free of charge.

"Trying to find a negative where this particular program is concerned is very difficult," Miller said.

Community action leaders like the program because it uses local contractors, local suppliers, and also creates jobs for those who provide their services for the people who really need the help.

If you live in St. Joseph, and want to apply for CAP's free weatherization program, you can call their office at (816) 233-8281.

Their weatherization web page is

If you live outside of St. Joseph, Community Services, Inc. in Maryville have an identical program, and they can be reached at (660) 582-3113.

William Seay