As the temperature begins to fall, residents of the Clarke Square neighborhood received tips on reducing energy usage, maintaining their furnace and water heater, controlling pests and keeping up their property at a recent workshop held at Journey House.
“Instead of doing it one by one as the clients come into the office, we thought, ‘We have to go out into the community and let them know we’re here to provide those kinds of services,’ ” explained Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative (CSNI) Housing Coordinator Veronica Ortiz. The fair, which also addressed the dangers of childhood lead poisoning, was sponsored by the CSNI and Social Development Commission (SDC).
Ortiz explained that some families believe that when it starts getting cold, turning the heat way up in their home is the best way to deal with the problem.
“If you don’t have it properly weatherized, you’re going to waste your money,” Ortiz said.
Herb Byers, executive director of Healthy Homes Healthy Families Coalition, Inc., recommended cleaning gutters regularly, properly disposing of trash, addressing mold issues and keeping houses maintained to protect buildings from mice, bedbugs, cockroaches and other pests.
Tyna Rule, a Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative council member and 17-year resident of the community, said it is important for her neighbors to keep up their properties, whether they rent or own.
“(There are) many initiatives, programs and projects in our area and we really want residents to take advantage of them,” she said.
Information sessions were conducted simultaneously in English and in Spanish. When sessions came to a close, residents stopped at various booths to learn about weatherization and other property maintenance tips.
All in attendance received complimentary weatherization kits valued at about $50. Also, three free energy audits and a $100 gift card were given away.
John Miceli, of Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc. and a Journey House board member, said he hoped attendees didn’t just pick up their weatherization kits, but also picked up some good ideas. “That goes from (using) compact florescent light bulbs to putting something over your window so it doesn’t leak as much,” Miceli said.
Jim Gambon of SDC pointed out that a house is a series of interrelated mechanical systems, and occupants have to make sure the systems work properly to reduce energy use and avoid health hazards in the home.