As reported in the spring newsletter, Red Feather launched a new home weatherization program in April. The program is funded through a contract with Arizona Public Service (APS) which reimburses Red Feather for all qualified weatherization expenses incurred on APS customer homes up to $6,000 per home. APS provides electricity to those residents of Hopi and the Navajo Chapters of Tuba City and Cameron; at least to those fortunate enough to be connected to the grid. To get the program started we are partnering with the Hopi Village of Shungopavi, where we are grateful to have the guidance and assistance of their Village Community Service Administrator, Sandy Whitehair.
Since the program’s debut, the energy efficiency, comfort, health and safety of 15 homes that are occupied by 56 individuals have been drastically improved. An additional 16 homes are in-line for services, with new applications being submitted each week. We have contracted with a great weatherization expert, Eli Chamberlin of CozyHomes Inc. He is employing three full-time Hopi workers and is looking to hire another who is skilled in carpentry, and dry-walling. These are new jobs in the community that did not exist before.
Five households have been transitioned to Red Feather’s Native Home Resource Network (NHRN) program due to excessive health and safety issues in the home that make it ineligible for the weatherization program. NHRN is a program funded through a grant from Wells Fargo that matches families with housing needs to resources that exist either in their tribe or outside their tribe.
Customer satisfaction surveys from occupants of our weatherized homes have been overwhelmingly positive. “Thank you very much, for your excellent work will help so many families on improving their home where this kind of work would not have been possible.” Another comment we overheard was, “I’m actually looking forward to winter for once!”. To date over $60,000 has directly been invested in materials, labor, and educational outreach for the program and about 40% of that money stays in the community.
Red Feather could not be happier with how this program is developing and as soon as we have a little more experience with it we have plans to expand the program to other Hopi Villages and Navajo Chapters.