In 2018, GROW South Dakota’s weatherization team received a call from Ruth, a senior resident in need of assistance with heating her house. When the weatherization team went to her home, they discovered energy inefficiencies as well as numerous safety concerns. Not only did the heating system need to be addressed, but the previous heating unit was not adequately ventilated, which could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Other issues identified included leaking windows which created drafting in the house. Additionally, there was no insulation in the attic, walls, or under the floor, which made the house very cold. There was no exhaust set up for the stove, and there was not an indoor bathroom. The homeowner had been using an outhouse as a restroom and would go to friends and neighbors when she needed to shower.
GROW SD was able to transform this living space into a more efficient, safe, and comfortable home by providing insulation to the entire house and installing new storm windows. GROW SD also replaced the old unvented space heater with a properly vented heating unit, and installed an exhaust fan above the stove. In addition to the lifesaving installment of a new heating system, the most significant improvement, with assistance from the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program (FHLB AHP) funding, was a new addition to the house. Ruth now has an indoor bathroom with a shower, sink, toilet, and water hookups for a washing machine.
“Because of this program, I no longer have to worry about C02 poisoning. I have adequate heat and no wind blowing through the windows and doors. For the first time, I don’t have to walk to the outhouse and worry about falling. I’m able to take a shower without going to someone else’s house. To say what I have received from the program has been life-changing would be a complete understatement.”-Ruth
These life-changing modifications were made possible through the Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the FHLB AHP that are both administered by GROW SD. As noted by Marcia Erickson, GROW SD CEO, “This work is the core mission of GROW SD. We provide needed assistance to households that would not be possible without our dedicated team and our partnering funding sources that support the work we do. It is so rewarding to provide this type of service every day.”
This guest blog was contributed by GROW South Dakota, a Community Action Agency providing many programs & services in South Dakota. Learn more about their work and mission here.