NYS funds grant programs for home improvements

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If your home is in desperate need of repair you may be able to get some help with the cost of renovations. New York State just infused more money into a number of local agencies that help low-income families and senior citizens make energy-efficient upgrades.

When Robert Henry bought his home along Alden Road in Greece 14 years ago, he knew it was a fixer-upper. “I got it decent enough so I could live in it and I just did work as I go,” he tells News10NBC, “but you know money-wise and changing jobs, I never have enough money so I never got a chance to do what I really wanted.”

As the years passed, the things he wasn’t able to fix got much worse. “I would be sitting in the living room and the wind would blow right through the house you’d be sitting on the couch and you’d feel like you’re standing outside because it’s an old house,” Henry says.

He needed a roof, windows, heating system, insulation, and an upgraded electrical system. Henry knew he couldn’t afford to do all the repairs on his own so, he took a trip to the Greece Town Hall to see if anyone could point him in the direction of some help.

Turns out, both the towns of Greece and Irondequoit have grant programs to help low-income families and seniors make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. “Greece came out, they looked to see what they need to do, they said we don’t got enough money to do what you need to do so then they called Pathstone,” Henry recalls.

Pathstone offers similar grants and Henry was able to get grants from both.

Elizabeth McDade runs the Rochester Energy Efficiency & Weatherization Program (RENEW) which helps to bring community organizations that offer these grant programs together to maximize the benefits. That helps both people who live in Monroe County and qualify and the environment. “Total in terms of all the work that we’ve done is over 5600 tons of greenhouse gas that’s not going into the environment,” McDade says.

On Monday, RENEW got a $50,000 NYS grant to expand that work, “by finding those energy-efficient improvements in your home, that increases the value of the home but also allows you to afford to be able to continue to live in your home with dignity,” said NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney as he presented the check.

If your home needs upgrades, you may be eligible for some help. You have to own your home and be current on school and property taxes. There are income qualifications depending on the size of your family and after the work is done, you have to stay in your home for 5 years or you’ll have to pay back the money.

For more information:

Town of Greece
Town of Irondequoit
Monroe County