Green and Healthy Homes Initiative
Dawn Close’s 1925 bungalow-style house has a beautiful front porch and plenty of curb appeal. Unfortunately, it was also costing her $1,000 a year in heating bills. “The windows were original to the house and the insulation was quite old as well,” says Dawn. “I didn’t really know where to begin.”
Dawn called Operation New View, which put her in touch with the new Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI). Coordinated by the Community Foundation, Dubuque’s GHHI is one of 17 programs nationwide that offer integrated health, safety, lead hazards reduction, energy efficiency and weatherization interventions in low- to moderate-income homes.
In addition to being the only GHHI site with a population less than 100,000, Dubuque also created a unique home advocate position to provide education and resources to participating households while also serving as a liaison between the household and various programs.
At their first meeting, Home Advocate Lindsey Harms listened to Dawn’s concerns and explained the GHHI process. She then coordinated inspections and the work of various city departments and contractors to address the home’s lead hazards, energy inefficiency, and weatherization and safety issues.
“Having the home advocate contact made all the difference,” Dawn says. “Lindsey was professional and compassionate. Anytime I had questions, I could just call her.”
Dawn is now enjoying her safer, more energy-efficient home and is thankful to GHHI for making it possible. “So many people are trying to make a better life for themselves and fall just short in finances or knowledge,” she says. “I’m so grateful for this blessing, I don’t even know how to say thank you. It brings tears to my eyes.”