JEFFERSON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thousands of Mainers struggle through winter because they can't afford to heat their old, poorly insulated houses. But now more of them will be able to keep warm, thanks to a new project from Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat, of course, is known for building new houses for low income families. Now they're also doing home weatherization. With the help of a $50,000 grant from the Dead River Corporation, Habitat has been training volunteers from six of its chapters around Maine to do weatherization work.
The scope of work typically includes repairs, air-sealing gaps and holes - especially in attics -- and properly insulating both attics and foundations. The training also includes instruction in how to evaluate and test house before a work plan is developed. Habitat's Bill Childs is says doing this kind of work can cut heating bills by twenty to forty percent, and sometimes more.
"There's such a need. There's tremendous need out there ," says Childs.
Habitat's 7 Rivers chapter in Bath has been doing weatherization work for several years, and is now leading the effort to train the volunteers and staff from other chapters.
David Perrin of the Bath office says 7 Rivers expects to weatherize fifty homes itself this year, and they're hoping another sixty will be covered statewide, as a result of the new training initiative. Perrin says building new homes will always be their core mission, but says weatherizing existing homes will allow them to help far more people.
Dead River Vice President Deanna Sherman told NEWS CENTER the company has been involved with the state fuel assistance program for years, and wanted to do something more to help low income Mainers reduce their need for fuel. Sherman said the company intends to stay involved with the project in coming years.