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Salem man receives help from free weatherization program

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It's a program that the Community Action Agency's CEO says could help about 50% of Columbiana County's residents

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – With the start of November, homeowners in northeast Ohio may be able to obtain help staying warm through the Home Energy Assistance Winter Crisis Program.

It’s a program that homeowner Tim Gorman used to his advantage.

Gorman bought an old house in Salem almost a year ago and started remodeling it himself last winter.

He also went to the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County to see if it could help.

The Community Action Agency is one of 48 around the state offering weatherization services to lower-income residents.

“I asked ’em if they had any other programs, and they referred me to these guys that have the winterization,” Gorman said.

Friday morning, officials with the agency held an open house to show what they’ve been able to do.

“They helped me with a lot of things — the roof, the overhangs, the gutters,” Gorman said.

Based on Gorman’s income figures and the results of a home energy audit, they were able to get him a new furnace, hot water tank and refrigerator, as well as putting insulation in his attic and walls.

This work is done free of charge for those determined to be low income, according to federal government guidelines.

The agency’s CEO, Thomas Andrews, said there are many others across the county just like Gorman.

“Our county demographics are about 104,000. Of that, probably close to 50% qualify for the services that we’re outlining here today,” he said.

While Andrews said the first step is to come into the agency and apply for help, he admits that there will be a waiting list.

“We only have the funds to do between 100 to 150 homes per year,” Andrews said.

The weatherization program uses state and federal funds to pay for most of the work, along with corporate partners like Columbia Gas and First Energy.

Gorman said the program has been a big help.

“Just up until a week ago, I had an electric heater in my bedroom. That’s where I’d stay the whole time,” he said.

The work on Gorman’s house should be finished by next spring.

The Community Action Agency began its Home Weatherization Assitance Program in 1975, and since then, the agency has improved more than 4,400 homes.

For more information on the program, call 330-424-4013 or visit www.caaofcc.org and or CAA’s Facebook page.

The agency in Columbiana County is one of 48 across Ohio that offer home weatherization assistance.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy helps more than 35,000 homeowners with winterization.

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