Sherman Hosts Home Energy Fair

By DAVID PRENATT editorial@westfieldrepublican.com

SHERMAN — The Home Repair and Energy Fair held in the Stanley Hose Company Fire Hall last month not only connected homeowners with assistance programs, but also connected service organizations to one another.

“It’s been going really well. I’m so happy it was a good turnout,” said Emily Edmunds, Sustainability Campaign Educator with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Edmunds co-organized the event with Sherman Mayor Colleen Meeder. “I’ve made new connections with other organizations, which will assist me in helping other people find what they need.”

The event, which was intended for homeowners, renters, landlords, senior citizens and small businesses, served to educate and assist community members. It was open to all residents of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.

Representatives from CHRIC, NYSERDA, USDA Rural Development, FeedMore WNY, and Sanfilippo Contractors, as well as a CCE Sustainability Educator were in attendance.

Residents who attended the event had the opportunity to learn about grants, loans, rebates, and incentives that could help them improve their dwellings. Also, they could get information on assistance with heating and cooling system options, solar energy and home repairs.

Edmunds said the event was a great opportunity for her personally. “It’s really good for the organizations to connect with each other,” she said. “Actually, I am just meeting many of these people in person.”

Edmunds said she was grateful for the assistance that Meeder gave her in organizing the event. “Colleen was such a big help in organizing this,” she said. “She works really hard to help the community.”

Meeder said she was very excited to have so many resources for homeowners in one place. “There’s a lot of commonality here,” she said. “We get a lot of people calling us from outside of the village. I told Emily we need to get everyone under one roof.”

Meeder also noted how the organizations were forming connections with each other. ‘They’ve been connecting, which is really good,’ she said. ‘We started seeing it happening in the planning stages.’

Many of the presenters also said how successful they thought the event was. “It was fabulous,” said Richard Penhollow of Sanfilippo Solutions, noting that homeowners could get up to a $20,000 grant to upgrade their insulation. “The joy that comes from it is knowing that we can help these people in more ways than just insulation. Sometimes they just need a smile or someone to listen or a handshake.”

Owner Joe Sanfilippo related a story of an elderly woman who had lived in the same farm house all her life. The woman called them crying and said this was the first time she had touched the wall and she did not feel cold. “She was so grateful,” he said. “That’s why we do what we do. We love doing things that people did not know were possible.”

Ben Lear of Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. works with removing lead from homes. Lear went on to say that he felt it was great that so many organizations were there to assist people. “We’re all serving the same kind of people that need work done,” he said. “Most of them have income levels toward the lower end.”

Tom Becker of USDA-Rural Development said the Home Repair and Energy Fair really helped people. “It’s great that everyone can come in and talk to six different agencies,” he said. “They can put a name with a face and get what they need.”

Edmunds said this was her first big event since taking the position at Cornell, but she plans to hold others like this one. “My area covers Cattaraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua Counties,” she said. “I am definitely going to plan a big event like this in Cattaraugus and Allegany .”


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