Safe and Efficient Living Futures program helps owners repair homes

Jan F. Demers, is the executive director of CVOEO.
It all adds up.
Fresh, firm red strawberries spooned over a warm, flaky homemade biscuit, topped with whipped cream. Strawberry shortcake: perfect for any time of year but especially nice in the summer. Each component is good by itself, even the whipped cream. Together they are a spectacular offering.
CVOEO is piloting the SELF program. SELF stands for Safe & Efficient Living Futures. SELF is a perfect match of our vision to bridge gaps and build futures. The program uses the strengths of three CVOEO programs: Weatherization, Mobile Home Program and the Financial Futures program. Individually they are strong and can stand alone. Together they open up great opportunities for the people we serve.
Weatherization in Vermont is faced with working with the second-oldest housing stock in the nation: old homes that need more than insulation and efficiency services. These homes may have a leaky roof or knob and tube wiring that puts them in a deferred status, stopping the work of weatherization. The Argosy Foundation has been a champion in helping to meet this need and now one-time funding from the legislature will combine the power of the Mobile Home and Financial Futures to return homes that are deferred to the Weatherization queue.
Sam and Tim from Weatherization will identify 25 homes that have been or are out of the queue. Gillian and Forrest from the Financial Futures Program will provide education and coaching to assist the home owner to apply for USDA low-interest loans or other grants to address the needed repairs. Five of those homes will be Mobile homes. Laura will be available for those home owners as they move through the process. One mobile home that is beyond repair will be identified for replacement with an energy star rated mobile home.
Working together in this way gives us more extensive solutions for homeowners who have been faced with repairs they may have put off for a very long time, resulting in ever worsening conditions.
The Financial Futures staff will pull credit reports and have conversations about protecting the investment of a home and the increased value that the repair brings. They are ready to speak with people about their personal finances and the way they can grow those assets. “What happens if I’m not eligible?” Then the conversation may be even more important in order to find another solution.
“I would like to say if I didn’t have Champlain Valley Weatherization Services I would have to sell my home. By their work I’m saving several hundred dollars a month” said David.
Erin Morgenstern puts it another way: “You don’t have to be a chef or even a particularly good cook to experience proper kitchen alchemy: the moment when ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts. Fancy ingredients or recipes not required …”
For more information call CVOEO’s Weatherization Program at 891-9697 ext. 313.

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