Art Smith (not his real name) was desperate and afraid. Colon cancer and the radiation treatments had taken a major toll on his health. He was spending most of his time sitting in his recliner, too weak to stand. His living conditions were unthinkable. When a team from Salt Lake County’s Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and Habitat for Humanity first inspected his home, it was revealed that the home was in terrible disrepair from years of deferred maintenance. The roof was leaking, and the carpets throughout were worn and attracting mice, bugs and various other pests. The plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom were leaking into the crawlspace, and the main plumbing line was cracked and draining raw sewage into the crawlspace. Art and his home were referred to Utah Community Action’s Weatherization program for help.

This type of work is outside the scope of what the Weatherization program usually tackles, but they decided to work with multiple partners to “braid” funds and resources together. Through this cooperative effort, they were able to complete all the repairs that the home needed. The team installed a vinyl roof, a new high-efficiency furnace, double-pane windows and vinyl flooring throughout the home. Major plumbing repairs included the replacement of the sewer main in the crawlspace.

It seemed that as Art’s home improved so did his health. He was slowly able to regain his strength and the team could slowly see the vitality return to him. After all the work was completed, neither Art nor his home were recognizable. He was a new man with renewed strength, dignity and hope for his future. His home is now worry-free, safe, healthy and more energy-efficient. He is able to focus his energy on renewing his health instead of worrying about repairs to his home.

This project would not have been successful if not for the collaboration of all the quality services and resources available in our community.

At the heart of our community are people like Art and programs like Utah Community Action’s Weatherization, which helps reduce energy costs for low-income families, particularly for the elderly, those with disabilities and children.

Click here to sign up for email updates and follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout August we will be showcasing inspiring client success stories from Utah Community Action’s programs, including: Early Head Start/Head Start, Nutrition, Adult Education, Weatherization, HEAT and Housing Case Management.

It’s what makes our community great.

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