Extra funding for insulated skirting program, helping over 70 homes lower energy costs

SEAFORD, Del. – On Monday morning,  the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity got some much-needed funding to continue their Insulated Skirting Program (ISP).

Bonita and Webster Johnson are just two of the many recipients of Sussex county’s Habitat for Humanity ISP. “Oil and gas are high, so since we’ve had the skirting and the roof done, it cut it down a whole lot, so I don’t have to pay out as much as I used to,” says Bonita Johnson, Seaford resident, and ISP recipient. She adds, “It’s hard trying to find somebody that will help you for low-income people, if you’re hanging in there, Habitat will definitely come in and help you.”

Thanks to a $650,000 grant from Energize Delaware, it’s a program that’s only getting bigger and better. The program helps homes keep the heat in, the cost low, and in the long run, help the community. The insulated skirting program started last year and gave manufactured homes the option of getting a 2-inch thick foam core to keep the heat inside and stop air from escaping which lowers heating costs. “I’ve heard people first hand, days after we installed it they say, oh I can walk on my floors now in bare feet where I couldn’t do that before. They notice that their heat isn’t running as much so it’s a really good product,” says Michael D’Ovidio, the neighborhood revitalization manager for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.

Last year, Energize Delaware granted habitat with $100,000 for the ISP, and we’re told they were able to help over 20 homes. Now a year later and with more funding, habitat is helping over 70 homes in Kent and Sussex County. “We were able to go out and solicit grant applications from folks like habitat for humanity to bring out innovative projects to help prove energy efficiency, help improve the quality of life in people’s homes across the state,” says Jim Purcell, Empowerment Grant Manager for Energize Delaware. He adds, “The pandemic has caused so much strife in our communities and stretching those dollars and how much things cost these days even if we can save a little bit of money here and there in terms of energy cost.”

Johnson tells us, both she and her husband are disabled so saving on the energy bill helps keep their money in the bank. “I just called Michael D’Ovidio and next thing I know, they were out here working on my home, they did my skirting and they did the roof and I love it,” says Johnson. With this funding, D’ovidio tells us they’ll be able to continue their mission of helping the community. “They just really appreciate the work that we do and it makes our jobs a lot easier when that’s the case and it just means a lot to be able to be able to help folks,” says D’ovidio.

While D’ovidio says they already have a waiting list of over 40 people for the program, Johnson tells us, this program proves how important it is to reach out for help. “Sometimes you get turned down, but you can’t just give up, you have to keep trying.”

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity also says they’re still taking applications for this program. If you want to apply, just click here.

Categories: Delaware, Local News