Facing Hard Times
Jeanne Keen was in a bind. Facing a broken furnace, air conditioner and thermostat, she found herself up against steep price tags for the necessary repairs for her home. As someone on disability and a fixed income, she wondered how she’d ever be able to afford to fix everything.
“I was used to working and making pretty decent money,” Keen said. “It was one thing or another: fix the furnace or pay the mortgage, fix the air conditioner or pay the mortgage, and then there’s bills. It just all adds up. There was no way.”
Keen decided not to let the situation get the best of her. Through some searching online and conversation with friends, she learned about the department’s energy programs. Keen reached out, and, after speaking to Maria Turner of the Customer Investment Fund, learned that she qualified to receive aid from the department for the work needed on her home. Between the Weatherization and the Emergency No Heat programs, she was able to get underway.
Success at a Glance
Homeownership and Renting Success Story
In Their Own Words
More Than Meets the Eye
Work on Keen’s Dundalk home began in January 2016. The process of watching her home receive some much-needed upgrades was an eye-opening one, Keen said: she had been unaware of exactly how much in her house had been working improperly or not at all. During that time, she watched the crew remove asbestos from her home that she didn’t even know was present. The 29-year-old defunct furnace was removed, and Keen said she was just amazed at “watching all the bad stuff come out of the house.”
“I had no idea how bad it really was,” Keen said. “Watching that all leave, watching them inspect the house … those are the things that make you know the house is safe and compliant, and that’s a big deal for me. It’s not something I could have ever afforded. At the end when I saw everything and realized how much more efficient the house was, I was stunned.”
Brighter Days Ahead
The amount of work to bring her home up to par was no small feat, Keen said, and she admires the people who worked to make it happen for her. Even more so, Keen said the renovations to her home hold personal significance beyond the obvious.
“Every penny I ever had went into this house. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. When it was all done and I walked through, although I watched this being done I don’t think I realized until the end how much had to be done. I’m just so thankful. I think about it now, and it makes me want to cry. I love my house: my mom lived here, my kids lived here, and it’s a big deal.”
Just asking for help was the hardest thing, Keen said, but she’s glad every day that she got up the nerve to do so.
“If you’re limited on finances and can’t afford to fix the things in your house, don’t hesitate. I just can’t say enough about what a wonderful program it is. This is the only house I’ll ever have, and they fixed it. I can’t get over it. None of my neighbors can believe it. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
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