Improving Homes — and Lives — in Chicopee
On Sept. 29, Revitalize Community Development Corp. (CDC) brought its #GreenNFit Neighborhood Rebuild to Chicopee. About 100 volunteers worked on four homes on one block, all in one day. Two of the four homes are owned by U.S. Air Force military veteran families.
“We are so grateful to the city of Chicopee for welcoming us with open arms and supporting our initiative to help make homes safe and healthy for those in need,” said Colleen Loveless, president and CEO of Revitalize CDC, noting that the work the volunteers and building contractors tackled included replacing rotted porches and steps; repairing accessible ramps, roofs, and decks; installing a new shed, windows, storm doors, and gutters; power washing; painting; and yardwork.
The work was supported financially and with volunteers from American Red Cross and the Chicopee Fire Department, the city of Chicopee, Baystate Health, Berkshire Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the Center for Human Development, Country Bank, Go Graphix, the MassMutual Foundation, M&T Bank, Ondrick Natural Earth, PeoplesBank, Rocky’s Ace Hardware, TD Bank, and Westfield Bank.
“Our #GreenNFit Neighborhood Rebuild goal is to work on hundreds of homes in targeted neighborhoods, clean up vacant lots, improve playgrounds, and create community gardens,” Loveless said. “Revitalize CDC focuses on making meaningful improvements on homes to help reduce energy use, save money, and create a safe, healthy, and sustainable living environment for our residents and the community.”
Improvements have included installing or retrofitting HVAC systems to allow for oil-to-natural-gas heat and solar conversions; new roofs; energy-efficient windows, doors, and appliances; water-saving plumbing fixtures; electrical upgrades; mold remediation, lead abatement, and pest control; interior and exterior painting; and modifying homes for aging or disabled homeowners, such as building exterior access ramps.
Since Revitalize CDC’s inception in 1992, the organization has repaired and rehabilitated more than 1,100 homes with the help of 10,000 volunteers, investing $42 million into Western Mass. In the past year, Revitalize CDC completed 72 home-repair projects on the homes of low-income families with children, elderly citizens, military veterans, and people with disabilities.
The organiation’s JoinedForces, in partnership with businesses, civic organizations, and other nonprofit agencies, provides veterans and their families with critical repairs and modifications on their homes.