Ties to our communities>Family stories

Drucilla’s House Goes Green
With Green Solutions

Drucilla feels like she is living in a new home since Green Solutions, Frontier Housing’s new program, finished a $22,000 green rehabilitation of her home. The economic down-turn has most severely impacted the elderly, persons with disabilities and families with limited income. The rising cost of utility bills is just one more burden. Everyone is aware of the push to weatherize homes, but much more is needed to help those least able to afford the rising cost of utilities.

Drucilla moved into her house 38 years ago when the oldest of her 5 children was 10 years old. She described a house full of kids where something was always happening. They lived in a 20’ x 40’ house with 3 very small bedrooms. She said, “When one child was awake everyone was awake”. She has been divorced for 25 years and remembers having to work 3 jobs to make ends meet. When driving around town with her grandchildren she will point out houses where she used to clean. Her grandchildren will ask, “Is there a house in Rowan County you didn’t clean?”

Over the years, Drucilla’s health deteriorated and due to severe arthritis and osteoporosis she became disabled. She has been in and out of the hospital and the nursing home due to medical complications, leaving her confined to a wheel chair. She is working hard to regain her strength so she can return to her walker.

Over the years, she’s made many sacrifices raising 5 children and she hasn’t had the extra money to maintain her house. She recalls winters when her curtains would billow out due to her poorly insulated, drafty house. When she became disabled she became dependant on family and friends to help her with cooking, cleaning and laundry. Her family referred her to Frontier Housing and USDA Rural Development to see if we could help make improvements to her living conditions.

Green Solutions not only helps families with weatherization improvements; installing ENERGY STAR HVAC systems, energy efficient windows, doors and insulation, but will also replace old appliances with ENERGY STAR appliances. This was particularly important to Drucilla. She has regained her independence with her new ENERGY STAR appliances. Now her front loading washer and dryer allows her to do her own laundry from her wheel chair while she saves money on her utility bill. She also received a new cooking range with front placed knobs she can easily reach from her wheel chair. She no longer has to reach across the hot burners to cook her meals.

Her home is much more comfortable with new ENERGY STAR rated windows and doors to keep out the winter drafts and summer heat. The new roof and vinyl siding allow her to take renewed pride in her home while eliminating the burden of worry about a leaking roof.

This was all made possible with a low interest loan from Rural Development and an Affording Housing Trust Fund Grant from FAHE through Kentucky Housing Corporation. Her monthly expenses will be lower, even with her loan payment, because she’s paying less in monthly utility bills due to the energy efficiency savings from all of her green rehab improvements. Her home consumes less power now which reduces the emissions that were generated by the wasted electricity. Drucilla is helping the planet and with more “green” in her pocket she can focus on her own physical rehabilitation.