Grant boosts local weatherization efforts



ELLSWORTH — The partnership between Downeast Community Partners (DCP) and Maine Seacoast Mission received recently a $75,000 gift from the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust.

Since 2015, DCP and the Mission, through their joint renovation and weatherization project, have improved and weatherized 60 homes in Downeast Maine. Support from the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust has underwritten the collaboration, attracting additional support from other funders. For the summer of 2022, DCP and the Mission have identified approximately 15 homes in Washington County and the Schoodic Peninsula area to receive home repairs and/or weatherization.

Mission President John Zavodny said, “This is an impactful and ongoing partnership between like-minded organizations. Both DCP and the Mission are dedicated to the comfort, safety and well-being of the families in our community. Partnerships like this are often the best way to help. We are grateful to DCP, the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust and others who support our housing rehabilitation program.”

DCP leverages funds from the U.S. Department of Energy and DHHS, under the auspices of the Maine Housing Weatherization Assistance Program. Homes in need of weatherization may be deferred if they need significant repair(s) such as a roof, wiring or plumbing. Mission volunteers make the needed improvements to each home so that DCP can then weatherize the dwelling.

The Mission’s Housing Rehabilitation Manager Scott Shaw, speaking on the need in the Downeast region, noted “our collaborative program enables Downeast families and seniors to stay in their homes and in their communities. Our volunteers provide labor, donations, and passion for working with homeowners.”

Maine’s housing stock is the eighth oldest in the nation, and the median home price in Washington County has increased to $165,000 in 2021, versus $120,000 in 2018. This rise means that many homes are unaffordable for most residents, with a county per-capita income of $26,049. The cost of building materials and supplies has also risen, posting an 18 percent increase in 2020 and a 15 percent increase in 2021.

“These metrics illustrate the importance of rehabilitating and weatherizing homes for our neighbors,” said Rebecca Palmer, executive director for Downeast Community Partners. “Reducing energy expenditures and increasing the energy efficiency of dwellings is simultaneously an act of compassion for our community and our planet. We are grateful for our valued partners who join us in our mission to improve the quality of life in Downeast communities.”

“This gift enables us to continue to collaborate with Maine Seacoast Mission and thereby improve more homes than either agency could achieve separately,” said Dale Basher, housing services operations manager for DCP. “Our partnership, fostered by generous donations such as that of the C.F. Adams Charitable Trust, pairs community engagement with the latest science and technology in weatherization — it’s advantageous for everyone.”

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