Community organizations help ‘button up’ old houses for winter

See some of the good work they’re doing – and learn how you can benefit from their programs …

Workers with the Community Energy Project unload supplies from their truck.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
More often these days than they used to, older people are choosing to stay in the homes they’ve occupied for years – sometimes for decades.

However, many of these houses are old – and were built years ago, when energy was inexpensive and in plentiful supply.

Homeowner Kathryn Kennedy checks the height of the new handrail being installed by Reach Community Development Field Rehabilitation Technician John Morse.

But now, homeowners, like Lents neighbor Kathryn “KC” Kennedy, are finding it difficult to stay in the home they love.

“My house is 110 years old – it’s one of the houses the Dwyer Mill built for their employees,” Kennedy told East Portland News, as volunteers came in and began working their assigned projects.

“It’s built solid as a rock,” she added. “Being this old, it gets cold and drafty. Having people from the Community Energy Project (CPE) come out and do this for me is a lifesaver.  I’m on a very limited budget.”

Rosalie Gordon, from the Community Energy Project, prepares to weatherize the windows.

The project leader, Community Energy Project’s Rosalie Gordon, looked at the windows in Kennedy’s living room, and got ready to start weatherizing them.

“We’ll be putting up plastic storm window kits, doing some door weather-stripping, and putting in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms,” Gordon explained.

It’s important to do this, she said, “Because given the state of our economy, it helps keep utility bills as low as possible, and helps people stay safe in their homes. This idea is pretty central to our mission.”

At the same time, a worker from Reach Community Development was installing handrails, and fixing other safety-oriented problems he’d found in the home.

“I’m so thankful for their help,” Kennedy said. “I could not afford to do any of this myself. I really appreciate it.”

Community Energy Project’s Wai Mi Tang prepares to install weather-stripping on this door.

About the Community Energy Project
Serving Portland since 1979, CEP provides free workshops on small-scale weatherization and lead poisoning prevention, as well as free weatherization and safety repairs to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

> For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

About Reach Community Development Corporation
To qualify for Reach home repairs, an individual must be least 55 years old or have a permanent disability, own and occupy their own home in the city of Portland, and earn 50% of median income or less.

Reach CDC provides:

  • Comprehensive home assessments
  • Smoke and fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarm installation
  • Installed bathroom safety aids
  • Minor plumbing and electrical problems
  • Minor roof repairs
  • Referrals to other resources, and nonprofit agencies.

  > For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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