21 Ways to Use Energy Wisely

Heating

  1. Turn down the heat to 65 degrees F. at night and when you leave home.  (However babies and elderly people need a higher room temperature than other people and a safer room temperature for this, 70 degrees F.
  2. Don’t block radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies.
  3. Vacuum the dust from radiators, heat and air conditioning vents, and baseboard heaters because dust reduces their efficiency.
  4. Bleed air trapped in radiators to improve water circulation.
  5. When the heating season begins, close all storm windows and lock your inside sashes. If you open a bedroom window at night, close the door.
  6. Close your curtains at night to cut down heat loss.
  7. Close closet doors.
  8. Shut the fireplace damper so heat doesn’t go up the chimney.
  9. Cover through-the-wall air conditioners so cold air can’t leak into your home.  Close central air conditioning vents.
Hot Water
  1. Have dripping faucets fixed.
  2. When shaving or washing up, fill the sink half-way instead of letting the water run.
  3. Turn off the water heater when  you’re away from home for an extended time (such as a weekend trip or vacation).
  4. Take showers instead of baths.
  5. If you have a gas water heater, drain half a bucket of water from the faucet at the bottom of your water heater tank every two months to remove rust and sludge that can collect there.
  6. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees F.
Washer and Dryer
  1. Always put a full load of clothes in the washer.
  2. Presoak heavily soiled clothes to avoid having to rewash them, and use cold water, not hot.
  3. Remove clothes from the dryer when they’re slightly damp if you are going to iron immediately
  4. Keep the lint filter clean.
  5. Do two or more dryer loads in a row.
  6. Dry your clothes outdoors when possible.
*Disclaimer*  This information was taken from Western Mass Electric Company

Fuel Assistance

Springfield Neighborhood Housing Service is pleased to announce it’s partnership with New England Farm Workers Council Fuel Assistance Program.

Residents in the Mason Square Area of Springfield, MA can now come to our office at 111 Wilbraham Road, Springfield MA Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm to pick up an  intake form in order to set up an appointment for Fuel Assistance at the New England Farm Workers Council.  The eligibility period is from November 1 thru April 30.

INCOME GUIDELINES
1 $30,751 6 $78,060
2 $40,213 7 $79,835
3 $49,675 8 $81,609
4 $59,137 9 $83,383
5 $68,598 10 $85,157

The following groups may apply for assistance:
  • All homeowners and renters who pay for their own heating costs
  • All renters whose heat is included in their rent
  • Renters in public and/or private subsidized housing who pay for their own heat and utilities and do not receive a heat/utility allowance
  • SOME RENTERS in public and/or private subsidized housing who heat is included in their rent might be eligible depending on the type of housing subsidy and category of rent. Please call our office for additional information to see if you qualify.
PLEASE BRING TO YOUR APPOINTMENT:
  1. Proof of Identity
  2. Proof of Address
  3. Social Security numbers & birth dates for all household members
  4. Proof of Income for all household members
  5. Gas & Electric bills (and name of dealer if oil/kerosene/propane
  6. Renters should bring the tenant/landlord information sheet
  7. Renters receiving a subsidy must bring a copy of the recertification housing sheet or letter from the housing authority.
You will also need to bring all of the following income documentation (as applicable):
  • Wages (4 most recent pay stubs)
  • Welfare, Social Security, SSI, VA, Workers’ Comp, Pensions (copy of most recent check/stub)
  • Unemployment (copy of DUA claim record)
  • Alimony/Child Support (copy of checks, divorce decree, court order, DOR print out)
  • Bank Interest, Dividends (statement from bank, copies of checks, tax forms)
  • Rental Income (mortgage interest, property tax, water/sewer, insurance, proof of rent received)
  • Self Employment (copy of Federal Tax Return from previous year)

*Disclaimer – Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services are not in charge of the fuel assistance program but a service to help make it convenient to those in the Mason Square area who wish to apply for fuel assistance*


Vote No on Question 2

Question Two would repeal an existing state law that allows a qualified organization wishing to
build government-subsidized housing that includes low- or moderate-income units to apply for a single
comprehensive permit from a city or town’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA), instead of separate permits
from each local agency or official having jurisdiction over any aspect of the proposed housing. The repeal
would take effect on January 1, 2011…

A YES VOTE would repeal the state law allowing the issuance of a single comprehensive permit to build
housing that includes low- or moderate-income units.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the state law allowing issuance of such a comprehensive permit.
Question 2 would take away opportunities for affordable housing across Massachusetts by
eliminating the main affordable housing law. VOTE NO.


Foreclosure Help Is Available

Has your financial situation changed due to increased mortgage payments, job loss, divorce, medical expenses, increased taxes or other circumstances? If it has, you are not alone.


In the current economic downturn, many families find themselves facing similar situations.  However, help is available.  Whether you are in danger of foreclosure or already facing foreclosure, SNHS is a HUD approved housing counseling agency providing honest and unbiased information to troubled homeowners.  Our housing counselors can provide advice on defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues and will work with you to understand your situations and determine what options are available to you.


We understand how difficult it is to talk about this situation and we offer a compassionate, single point of contact for foreclosure prevention assistance.


Also, as a non profit agency, we are recognized as a neutral third party and often have access to resources not readily available to the public.  So, if you find yourself facing foreclosure, call us immediately.  Remember:  “The worse thing you can do is nothing”.


Another SNHS Success Story…30 Colonial Street

Like many properties in the greater Mason Square area, the house at 30 Colonial Avenue sat uninhabited, ultimately falling into a sate of disrepair.

Although the house had “good bones”, it couldn’t seem to attract any real interest – or commitment, from potential homeowners or local developers.  In 2007 SNHS acquired the “eyesore” property in the Upper Hill neighborhood and began the process of “bringing it back to life”.

Under the watchful eye and direction of our Rehabilitation Specialist, Robbin Jones, structural and cosmetic improvements were undertaken.  The windows were replaced, a new roof put on and siding added.  The floors were refinished and both the kitchen and bathrooms completely refurbished.

The 3,000 sq. ft. house, with a finished attic, was outfitted with Energy STAR – rated appliances including air conditioning and a forced – hot air heating system and a central alarm system was installed as well.

So what was once the neighborhood eye-sore, is now a shining example of the work done by SNHS.  Not only that, but it is also owned and occupied by a family that participated in our 1st Time home buyer’s Program.

At the end of the day, the new owners are happy to be in their spacious, energy-efficient home, and frankly, we’re happy another blighted property has been removed from the community.


BUY SPRINGFIELD NOW

There has never been a better time to buy a home in Springfield,MA..  Interest rates and home prices are at all-time lows and with a variety of property types and choices available, it just got easier to find the “KEY” to the home that’s right for you or your family.

The city of Springfield has recently formed a collaborative to help prospective homeowners.  This extensive network of Realtors, Lenders, Attorneys, Home Inspectors and nonprofits have joined together to provide critical information and incentives that will help open your door to home ownership.

In addition to down payment and closing costs incentives, an attractive home buyer tax credit can make it even more the perfect time to unlock the doors to home ownership.

As one of the partners, Springfield NHS stands ready to assist with its Home Buyer/Home Owner Education and Financial Fitness classes.  And, in addition to our HUD certified education and counseling services, we offer a number of mortgage products at all income ranges, to put you in a home at the price you want to pay.  As our Executive Director says, “If you’re not doing business with SNHS, you’re probably leaving money on the table”.

So, if you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, check with SNHS on how the BUY SPRINGFIELD NOW program can benefit you and how we can help put you into your own home.


Springfield NHS Busy….and Getting Busier

In 1978, facing a deteriorating housing stock in their neighborhood, a small group of residents banded together to address the problem.  They dedicated themselves to increasing the quality of life in their community through housing rehabilitation, increasing home ownership opportunity and resident empowerment.


Since that time Springfield NHS has expanded its staff, its service areas, as well as the number of services it offers, building a solid reputation for outstanding service along the way.


Over the years the agency has built an impressive record:  with over 50 houses rehabilitated, nearly 200 new homes built and hundreds of individuals counseled through home ownership problems.  However, as the times have changed, so have the challenges.


Whereas, in the beginning, the agency’s focus was on simply “bringing houses in the neighborhood up to code”, over the years that focus has grown into providing housing rehabilitation services, new home construction, mortgage products and a full range of housing related counselling services.  And now, with the economic downturn foreclosure prevention, loan modification and reverse mortgages have significantly added to the demand for the agency services.


But regardless, home ownership remains a vital part of the American dream.  So, whether you re trying to buy a house, keep your home or transform your neighborhood into a community, Springfield NHS stands ready to support you every step of the way.  


As the challenges around housing continue to change, we intend to evolve with them to ensure that you receive the kind of service you need, deserve, and that we’re committed to providing.


Our trained and dedicated staff remain committed to our basic mission of transforming families and revitalizing neighborhoods through sustainable home ownership.


Jacki Nogueras – Foreclosure Prevention Specialist

With the number of foreclosures steadily rising in our area, SNHS was in need of someone who could not only advise and direct people in crisis, but someone who could also intervene on their behalf and who had the professional qualities we prize most.

Introducing Jackie Nogueras, Jackie is our Post-Purchase Counselor.  Serving  over 80 clients, she has secured 25 loan modifications and has stopped several foreclosures.

She identifies loss and/or reduction of income as the main reason for recent foreclosure. Jackie is a dedicated professional with great follow through. Call or stop in today for an intake to get started on saving your HOME!   Don’t delay once you begin having problems paying your mortgage and you can’t see your way clear, don’t wait, get help right away”..