Ms. Murray and her husband are senior homeowners who have been part of Baltimore City’s Edmondson community for over forty years. During that time, the family has had to deal with constant drafts, severe temperature irregularities, and high utility bills within their home. A significant reason for this is their house’s location at the corner of the street, which exposes their home to the elements. These issues were exacerbated by the inefficiency of the building, and the Murrays were forced to put up a thick plastic tarp over their windows in order to stay warm. Furthermore, the family has found it difficult to age-in-place comfortably while keeping up with rising energy costs every year.
Ms. Murray was referred to Civic Works’ Energy Programs by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Shortly after receiving the referral, Civic Works’ Energy Advisor reached out to Ms. Murray to establish contact and build a strong working relationship. The Energy Advisor explained the weatherization process to Ms. Murray, answered all of her questions, and helped her identify which program she qualified for under her household income. Throughout this process, “Mr. Dean was very articulate and clear” as he conducted regular check-ins with Ms. Murray to help coordinate services and advocated on her behalf.
Civic Works scheduled the Murrays for a home energy audit, during which Civic Works discovered that the Murrays had asbestos glue in the floor and a gas leak in the house. Civic Works was able to deliver at no-cost to the homeowners comprehensive health and safety repairs for the Murray household, including remediating asbestos, installing ventilation in the bathroom, providing new flooring, and hiring a plumber to fix the leaky gas valve. These measures improve air quality and removed harmful environmental hazards that oftentimes cause respiratory and health complications, especially for seniors. Many of these repairs address common issues that are unfortunately invisible to residents, but are critical to ensuring the homeowner’s safety.
Following the health and safety repairs, Civic Works was able to proceed with the weatherization. “The crew did a phenomenal job,” said Ms. Murray. “Each person that I worked with was wonderful, and I enjoyed their company.” In particular, she was impressed with the crew leader, who “knew her workers well and was able to lead and delegate in a professional manner.”
Reflecting on her overall experience participating in Civic Works Energy Programs, Ms. Murray emphasized her complete support for the work. “When seniors retire, we’re on a fixed income,” she explained. “So all of these services we have received from Civic Works, from getting the lightbulbs and exhaust fan, to removing the asbestos… I appreciate it from the depths of my heart because every bit helps.” Ms. Murray has kept in contact with the Civic works team, and has promised to tell her neighbors and friends in need of energy efficiency measures about the program.