Ann Woodford's home in Andrews, N.C., had so many problems that it was difficult for her to work – and live.
Two uninsulated front windows had fallen through the rotted wooden frames and the home was inadequately insulated. Windows and doors leaked. Her antiquated HVAC system ran constantly and inefficiently, leaving her uncomfortable all year long.
"I was at the stage in my life," she said, "that I did not know what I could do to survive."
Woodford is a historian, author and founder of One Dozen Who Care, a nonprofit that works to build bridges between races, develop
entrepreneurial and economic opportunities and develop leadership skills in women and youth in far western North Carolina.
Her mission: "To reveal and preserve the history of the seemingly invisible African-Americans in far western North Carolina."
But since she works out of her home, meeting that goal was difficult.
So she contacted Four Square Community Action, a nonprofit that administers home improvement and other social service assistance for low-income residents in Western North Carolina. Four Square receives funding from Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund and Weatherization Program and from the federal government through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
"Without these funds," said Lorrie Maggio, Duke Energy manager of Products and Services, "so many customers would never receive the weatherization assistance due to structural or safety issues within the home."
Since its inception in 2015, the Helping Home Fund has assisted more than 4,300 families with heating systems and repairs, health and safety repairs, and new energy-efficient appliances.
In Woodford's situation, the Helping Home Fund was able to also provide a new, energy-efficient heating-and-air conditioning system and a new range, allowing the WAP and LIHEAP programs to leverage their money and provide more services for Woodford.
Woodford's home also received new insulation, wiring, ductwork and replacements of leaky windows and doors. She is grateful for the help that has allowed her work to continue.
"Sometimes when you help one person, you are reaching out to many others," she said. "Helping others is my dream and vision. The kindness and care I received encouraged me to keep up the work I have tried to do to help other people in our community."
Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund helps qualified North Carolina families save energy and money through free home energy makeovers provided. The program serves families at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines and provides energy-efficiency upgrades at no cost to income-qualified customers.
An energy assessment is conducted at each participant's home. Customers also receive information on their home's energy use and strategies to reduce energy costs.
- Health and safety repairs up to $3,000 per home such as installation of hand rails, carbon monoxide detectors, minor roof, plumbing leaks and electrical repairs.
- Appliance replacement up to $2,000 home including washing machine, refrigerator, and room air conditioners.
- Heating and cooling system repair up to $800.
Low-income and elderly people tend to face a burden during extreme temperatures. Making a home more energy efficient can help reduce energy costs. For some, there is additional help managing energy use through Duke Energy assistance programs and services, including:
● Cooling Assistance Program in the Carolinas assists the handicapped, elderly and low-income families with energy costs associated with extreme summer temperatures.
● Helping Home Fund offers free assistance for income-qualified customers in North Carolina to make their homes more energy efficient. Customers receive a home energy assessment and assistance to help save on energy bills.
● Equal Payment Plan makes managing your cash flow easier by providing predictable monthly payments for customers in the Carolinas. Budget Billing is available for Duke Energy’s customers in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
● Energy Neighbor Fund for Duke Energy Progress customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida helps eligible individuals and families cover home energy bills.
● Fan-Heat Relief Program helps senior citizens in the Carolinas with cooling.
● Eligible homeowners in the Carolinas and Midwest and Florida can get a free home energy assessment, which includes an Energy Efficiency Starter Kit containing LEDs, an energy-efficient showerhead, switch and outlet energy seals.