Making It Look Good... And Living Life Better
Coral Hills Façade Renovation Program Spends Approx. $250,000 on Home Improvements that Allow Many County Residents to Age in Place
By Alexis Revis Yeoman // Public Information Officer/Legislative Liaison
Reprinted from the Prince George’s County Department of Housing & Community Development News // @dhcdPG
Having a roof over your head is a wonderful thing at any age. It becomes even more precious to keep one’s home—in sparkling condition---into one’s golden years.
Such is the good fortune that has come to the Coral Hills community.
In April 2018, the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County (RDA) began construction under the $249,485 grant award, implementing the Coral Hills Façade Renovation and Energy Retrofit Program. The grant was a combination of the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and the County’s Department of Permits, Inspection and Enforcement (DPIE) Transforming Neighborhood Initiative funding.
This program was designed to improve residential facades and increase the number of certified energy-efficient homes in the Coral Hills community.
Using this grant, the RDA completed renovations and made energy efficiency measures in 18 houses within this inner-beltway community. Eighty percent of the homeowners are senior citizens. Each homeowner could qualify for up to $10,000 in grant money if they met the Area Median Income (AMI) guidelines. The program was targeted to low to moderate income home owners in the Coral Hills/Suitland area. The Coral Hills community was built prior to 1970 and 52.9% of the owner-occupied housing stock is valued at or below $199,999.
"Low-income families spend anywhere from 17 percent to more than 50 percent of their income for energy consumption, while other households spend 4 percent on average," said Estella Alexander, Acting Director of the Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development. “With this program, we are transforming low-income communities
through exterior renovations and energy efficiency. It allows seniors to 'age in place' by providing renovations, keeping their homes safe and comfortable. We are working to expand this program in other inner beltway communities.”
The program’s goal was to improve property values by beautifying deteriorated homes through installing multiple energy efficiency features. The façade improvements included exterior and some interior renovations, including: lead and mold remediation, porch columns, facia boards, roof replacement, replacing entry doors, replacing HVAC systems, new appliances, replacing old windows with energy efficient windows and more. Energy efficiency upgrades included insulation, sealing and weather-proofing drafty doors, replacing hot water heaters, and more.
“I couldn’t be happier!” exclaimed 80 year-old homeowner Mary Bowman. “The contractors were experienced, they were respectful of my home and did a good job.”
Once the Coral Hills residents applied for the grant money, the RDA qualified the home owners, then assessed what was needed to upgrade their home. The RDA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from local contractors to bid on the scope of work needed to upgrade 18 homes. Two contractors were awarded the work, both were minority Prince George’s County contractors. One of the contractors, Energy Shepherd, is a local, minority and female-owned business, specializing in energy efficiency. Since 2008, CEO Crystal Faison has received numerous awards and accolades for her business. She is currently the #2 contractor for the local electric company, Pepco.
“As a partner in the Coral Hills Façade Renovation Program, many of the energy efficiency assessments we made exposed health and safety issues that are not covered under the energy efficiency aspect of the grant,” said Faison. “When our inspectors discovered health and safety issues, the RDA was able to come in and make repairs or replacements allowing us to improve the home owners’ health, safety and quality of life.”
Of the 18 homes included under this grant, 8 homes had major health and safety issues, centered around the HVAC system, specifically excessive carbon monoxide gas escaping from the HVAC system. The Coral Hills Façade Renovation Program replaced all 8 HVAC systems. Additionally, the grant covered other health and safety issues such as: creating attic access and replacing dry wall where mold and lead abatement needed to occur and upgrading or correcting electrical wiring to eliminate safety issues.
“These are discoveries that could have deadly consequences if it were not for the Coral Hills Façade Improvement grant,” said Faison.
Through the Coral Hills Façade Renovation Program, 80 year-old Romona Rosser received a new entry door, a new walkway, beams to support her front porch, and a new HVAC system. “I would highly recommend the program,” said Rosser. I’m glad my daughter looked into the information that I received in the mail.”