DETROIT - It's not just the high winds, flooding waters, and wildfires of weather that cost homeowners money. When temperatures drop, bills go up. And if your house isn't keeping the cold temperatures out and the warm air in, expect your bill to do the same.
And that's the goal of Wayne Metro Community Action - to help low-income families save money. And their method is rooted in house weatherization.
"The weatherization basically changed my family's life. It changed our life," said Taneka Hicks. "Our bill was extremely high, we're talking like $410 dollars a month high and I needed help."
People living with tight budgets don't often realize they're throwing hundreds of dollars out the window -- just through leaks in their home. But Patrick Riley with the initiative does. And he was sent over and to fix up the leaks in Hicks' house. The savings were astounding, amounting to $200.
"I didn't imagine all that they do and how it would drastically impact my family's life. They came in and not only did they do the caulking and the weatherization and the stripping, I got insulation on all my walls, my attic and they did an inspection on my furnace and found out it was insufficient," Hicks said. "Less stress and that I can take care of other responsibilities. I have children so yeah it makes a difference."
All of that was done for free.
"I get a hug from her all the time. It's great because you can see it in her face and it helps me out knowing that I'm helping someone out," said Riley.
The architect behind a lot of this is Stephen Christensen with the community action network. Just like putting warmer clothes on helps you stave off cold temperatures when fall and winter comeS, Christensen said the same goes for your house.
"The attic insulation is kind of like putting the hat on the house, then we kind of put a sweater on the house with the wall insulation," he said. "And if the opportunity is there we may improve their furnace sufficiences."
And that can save 16 cents on the dollar. Then there's your kid's health as well -- less sick days at school because of the winterized house.
"Your indoor air quality is going to improve. Your asthma triggers go down and that's a great benefit for children," said Christensen.
Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties all have similar programs for low-income residents, helping moms like Hicks in big ways.
"Pride will say don't call, pride will say don't come but it's worth a call," said Hicks.
You can contact the Wayne Metro Connect Center at 313-388-9799