Weatherization Keeps People Housed

Maintaining a home can be a challenge for anyone, but when you live alone on a fixed income, it can become nearly impossible. Bernice Johnson, a widow in Lexington, had been living by herself for quite some time when she discovered that her home required a level of care that she could no longer provide on her own.

Mrs. Johnson began searching for assistance and found the Council’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) which could give her the help she needed to perform the upkeep required to keep her safe in her home. “They came to my rescue,” she said.

WAP is a vital service that has been transforming homes and lives for decades. Weatherization is the process of making necessary upgrades and repairs to homes to protect them from the elements. It aims to create energy-efficient, safer, and healthier living spaces while also saving families money on their utility bills. The core of WAP’s approach is the concept of “whole house weatherization.” This means that every aspect of a home is assessed through an energy audit to understand the total energy usage and make targeted improvements.

Mrs. Johnson reached out to the Council for assistance and was met by our Weatherization Assistance Program Coordinator Mae Smalley. “Ms. Smalley was just a god-sent person,” she said.

With Mae’s assistance, Mrs. Johnson was able to apply for the program and learn about other resources that could help her live a safer and more comfortable life. Mae became a connection to the wider community and offered renewed hope to Mrs. Johnson when her needs felt overwhelming to her.

Through WAP, Mrs. Johnson was provided with a new, energy-efficient refrigerator, attic insulation, smoke detectors, a bathroom exhaust fan, a carbon monoxide detector, low-flow showerheads, and energy-efficient lightbulbs. Her clothes dryer vent was fixed, hot water pipes were insulated, ducts were sealed, and a fuel shutoff valve was installed. Mae was also able to connect her to the WarmWise program that helped Mrs. Johnson get a brand new – and safer – furnace.

“I was pleased with the work they did. I was delighted,” she said, noting that the work was good quality and has been standing the test of time. Now, with lower utility bills, better air quality, increased home safety, and an upgrade to her home’s durability, Mrs. Johnson can remain in her home for as long as she wishes.

“It’s a hard race to run out here when you don’t have any help,” she said, but the assistance she received through WAP and the Council not only improved her living conditions but also provided her with a sense of relief and community support.

To learn more about how Weatherization can work for you, check out this video on our YouTube page. You can find an application on the Weatherization page of our website.

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