Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New Residential Energy Program Coming to Hawthorne!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes

Learn how to reduce your energy use and save money! The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council has teamed up with the Center for Energy and Environment, CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy to offer Hawthorne homeowners Community Energy Services, CES, a full service residential energy program.

The program will not only provide you with information about reducing your energy use by installing low-cost/no-cost measures in your home, but it will also provide you with the tools and financing necessary if you are ready to make larger investments such as insulation, sealing bypasses and installing new windows.

Community Energy Services Provides:

• FREE educational workshops to teach homeowners how to lower their energy use and save money;

• FREE educational workshops to teach homeowners how to lower their energy use and save money;

• Customized home energy visits from qualified professionals who will identify additional ways for residents to save in their homes, including a blower door test. Up to $400 in services and materials for a co-pay of only $20, however the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council will cover the co-pay of the first 150 people to sign up for the program, giving you a $400 value for free;

• Personalized energy use inventory for the last 12 months and feedback for the next 12 months to show the homeowner how these low-cost/no-cost measures resulted in decreased energy use, also allowing participants to compare their energy use to that of their neighbors also participating in the program (confidentially of course);

• Information on financing, incentives, stimulus funding and rebates for those wishing to complete larger projects such as insulation or a furnace replacement.


A general informational workshop will be held at Farview Park on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Two other workshops to sign up for these FREE services will be held on Wednesday, February 17th, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 20th, 10 a.m. - noon. Call or email Ashley Robertson to reserve your spot TODAY, at 612-335-5869 or arobertson@mncee.org.

By being a part of the Community Energy Services program you will be one of the first people in the state to have access to everything this program has to offer! Invite your friends, neighbors and family, all Hawthorne homeowners are welcome!

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

Monday, December 07, 2009

"Hawthorne Voices" Speaks Again!

Post written by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Housing Director, contributed photo.

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council is reviving its "Hawthorne Voices" blog! Over the past several months, many Hawthorne-specific issues have appeared on a blog run by one of Hawthorne's board members, John Hoff. While the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council appreciates Mr. Hoff's contributions through his Adventures of Johnny Northside blog, the tone and political content intermingled with entries about or by Hawthorne residents sometimes diluted the message of the neighborhood.

So this blog is starting up again, and here's how it will work for the time being...

Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes will manage the blog, including adding or removing content, adjusting the layout of the page, and approving or rejecting comments. If you have content that you would like to see posted on this blog, please email Mr. Skrenes at jskrenes@hawthorneneighborhoodcouncil.org. Other Hawthorne members may also have access to this blog, but for now I will be the only person performing these tasks until others are designated as well.

If submitting a photo, please give credit when possible to the person or entity that took the photo. When this is not possible, or when the person taking the photo wishes to remain anonymous, we will label it as a "contributed photo."

We will make an effort to update the Hawthorne Voices blog at least once a week with the most significant staff activities, neighborhood concerns, and Hawthorne events. More frequent updates may happen as events warrant.

When submitting a comment, please keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Spam content will be rejected.
2. Racist, sexist, and otherwise derogatory content will be rejected.
3. Due to our tax-exempt status, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council reserves the right to not publish content that endorses a specific political candidate or party.
4. The mission statement of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council is as follows: "The Council seeks to improve the quality of life in the Hawthorne neighborhood through empowering the residents in order that they can address the physical, cultural, social, and economic needs of the community." HNC encourages the free speech available on the blogosphere but must act in accordance with our mission. We therefore reserve the right to not publish content that either goes against our mission statement or is not germane to it.

Well, this particular post is a bit dry, but necessary to lay some ground rules.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New "Hawthorne Advantage" Buyer Incentive (Plus Details On Other Home Programs)

On Thursday, January 8, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council board approved two changes to its housing programs. First and foremost was the exciting "Hawthorne Advantage" program for purchasers of owner-occupied houses in Hawthorne. Here's how it works:

Just for buying a house AND LIVING IN IT in Hawthorne, we'll help you out with 3 percent of the purchase price, up to $4,000. And if you buy a foreclosed or boarded/vacant property, we'll kick in an additional $1,000.

This assistance will stay as a lien against the property for ten years, but has no monthly payments and ZERO interest. From year six through ten, the amount is forgiven at 20 percent a year until it is completely forgiven when you have stayed in our fine neighborhood for ten years.

To apply for these programs, contact Housing Director Jeff Skrenes.

Applying The Numbers

Let's put a real-life example or two into this. If you buy a $120,000 house in Hawthorne from another owner-occupant, you'll qualify for the maximum initial assistance amount of $4,000 (3 percent of sales price)

But let's say you find a $50,000 house that just went through foreclosure. (This may be high for foreclosed homes, but it makes the math easy) You'd quality for the 3 percent down payment help of $1,500 plus an additional $1,000 for turning a foreclosed property back to owner-occupied status. That winds up being 5 percent of the purchase price.

And guess what? You can use the Minneapolis Advantage $10,000 in combination with our assistance. Bearing in mind that both prices and interest rates are near record lows, and seeing all the great stuff we're doing in our neighborhood, we've got to ask: Why WOULDN'T you buy in Hawthorne?

Rehab Loan Program Was Always Here, Nothing New

Our neighborhood also has an excellent loan program at 4 percent interest, repaid over ten years.

But if somebody has an emergency and can't qualify for that, we are still here to help.

Neighbors Taking Care Of Neighbors

On January 8, 2009, Hawthorne introduced an emergency assistance program. If your furnace goes out in the middle of winter and you have trouble getting access to money to address this or another similar emergency, Hawthorne now has a program to help. We will lend you up to $6,000 at zero interest, forgiven in the same way as the down payment program.

Come to Hawthorne! We'll help you get here and we take care of our neighbors.