By: Chris Corcoran
Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program has made more than 3,100 homes healthy and lead safe through projects that are largely funded by state and federal grants. In order to maximize the number of families served, Healthy Homes has established spending caps based on years of experience making homes lead safe and healthy. In some instances, bids run over those caps and homeowners have to make up the difference. Due to income constraints, that’s difficult for many of our clients to do. That’s why our newly obtained “Last Dollars In” funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (HFPG) is so crucial.
Under the program, the HFPG is providing “Last Dollars In” grants to offset that homeowner-required portion. Our first project in which a homeowner has been able to utilize the “Last Dollars In” funding is getting underway in Hartford.
The homeowner, Maxine Wallen, is a single mother of three children who owns a two-family home that has asbestos, lead and other concerns. She applied to Healthy Homes for remediation and was approved for nearly $36,000 in federally-funded work to her home, however lead removal costs came in $2,000 over that program’s cap. She would have been unable to come up with the money to get the work started, but now the HFPG “Last Dollars In” grant will cover that cost for her.
Wallen, who works as a substitute teacher, has been hoping to fix up her home for years, but has never been able to save the money needed to do so. “It’s not from lack of pride. It’s a lack of funding,” Wallen said.
Prior to Healthy Homes getting involved, Wallen said she never realized how many hazards are in her home, including how much lead needs to be remediated. In addition to removing the lead, crews will also remove asbestos, fix electrical concerns, install window guards and take additional steps to ensure her home is healthy and safe.
“There are so many thank yous. It means everything,” said Wallen.
The “Last Dollars In” grants are also available to other qualified homeowners. Please feel free to contact our program for more information.
We’re confident that these “Last Dollars In” grants will enable us to start work on many stalled projects, giving homeowners peace of mind knowing they’re living in properties that are healthy and lead safe.
Chris Corcoran is the project manager for Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program.