Ezell McQuay wanted to improve the deteriorating stucco home he purchased eight years ago. He knew much work needed to be done.
“I got a lot of assistance as far as improving the exterior part of the stucco,” McQuay said, referring to the informational sessions at the fourth annual Weatherization Fair held at Journey House, 2110 W. Scott St.
McQuay added that he is now looking to add “curb appeal” to a corner home he owns because of the professional advice he received at the fair. “I was able to get valuable resources from the sessions and found them very beneficial.”
Organizations such as La Casa de Esperanza, Inc., Milwaukee Energy Efficiency and Select Milwaukee presented information about energy efficiency, lead poisoning risks and prevention, home improvements, property maintenance and resources for help in mortgage payments. Presentations in English and Spanish took place in four classrooms.
“We recognize the need for education about property maintenance in the community,” said Ofelia Mondragon, program manager of the SDC Lead Hazard Reduction Assistance Program.
According to Mondragon, many Milwaukee homes built prior to 1978 have lead paint on the inside and outside, which poses the risk of lead poisoning, particularly for children.
Families can reduce the chance of lead poisoning by keeping children away from peeling paint, regularly washing their hands and faces — especially before meals — and using only cold tap water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula.
Presenters also stressed the importance of maintaining furnaces and water heaters for the winter. “We hope to provide valuable information about basic property maintenance to get the community and their homes prepared for the coming winter,”
According to Kate Wolf, home improvement coordinator for Layton Boulevard West Neighbors and CSNI, the interests of neighbors dictated the resources and presentations at the fair. “We’ve been listening to what neighbors have been sharing in regard to really important home improvements they need to make,” she said. She cited insulation, window replacement, and furnace and water repairs as the top concerns.
La Casa de Esperanza Inc. provides no-cost services to qualified low-income homeowners and renters in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Jefferson counties. Energy audits determine what services are needed. They may include air filtration, heating and ventilation repair, water heater repair and replacing light bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs.
Stan Yasaitis attended the fair to learn more about preparing his house for the coming winter. “I had an energy audit done one year ago and they pointed out a few areas that could be improved,” he said. “I had some questions about how to exactly do that and I got some answers here today.”