LUNCH, LAUGHTER, AND FOND MEMORIES
Senior Citizens Centers
Ruth is the type of person who will brighten your day without saying a word. She is a well-known member of the community and has called Richmond her home for all of her life. Since 2010 she has been coping with grief from the loss of her late husband, Paul. Personal aging has required some getting used to. She has severe arthritis, suffers pain from bone spurs, and has to rely on a cane to maneuver gingerly through her home. Her three children often worry about her. She was invited to the Richmond Senior Citizens Center by her cousin, Bettie, a center ‘regular’. Well aware of the center and the services it provides, Ruth accepted the invitation without hesitation and has been coming ever since. Ruth served as an active volunteer member on the Foothills’ Board of Directors from 1996-2008; and served as Board Chair for six years. In this role she supervised all of the business and affairs of the agency. During her time as Board Chair, Ruth served on numerous key committees including Executive, Finance, and Strategic Planning. She provided outstanding direction to both the executive staff and volunteers. Her unwavering dedication to the success of Foothills was an inspiration. Ruth freely gave of her time and resources to help promote the agency and its programs. She believes it is very important to remain active and involved with others. “I wanted to get out of the house and see what was going on,” she said. The agency’s four Senior Citizens Centers provide seniors sixty years and older with socialization, recreation, and nutritious meals. Seniors enjoy participating in exercise programs, recreational games, field trips, and educational and health screening programs. These activities allow them to remain active and live longer, healthier, more independent lives. Two of the centers are intergenerational programs, located in the same building as Head Start. The centers provide transportation to and from participants’ homes and takes them to the grocery store weekly. “Everyone is so nice here,” said Ruth. It’s also a blessing for Ruth, who doesn’t cook much anymore, to receive a hot meal every day. For Ruth, noon meals aren’t the only draw to the center. She attends every day and looks forward to socializing with her friends. “I’m a people person. I need to be around people,” she explains. She loves playing Bingo, going on special trips or just out to eat. She said she always has money ready for an impromptu outing like bowling or lunch at a local restaurant. One of her fondest memories at the center was when the group took a cruise on the Belle of Louisville last year. Being in this atmosphere has enhanced Ruth’s self-confidence, dignity, and independence. Still able to live independently, Ruth enjoys playing games on her Kindle and watching TV at home. Her three children, Paula, Jerry, and Robert check in on her daily. On the weekend she looks forward to going out to lunch and shopping. She is an active member of her church and enjoys worship and fellowship every Sunday. “I have good days and bad days,” said Ruth, who will be 81 in September. “But overall I’m making it pretty good.” She credits her family and Foothills for keeping her active and healthy.
MAKING THE TRANSITION
Youth Investment Project
In many ways, Shilo is a typical college freshman. He rushes from class to class and studies until midnight. He listens to Imagine Dragons, plays video games, collects unusual pop bottles, and reads science fiction. He has never thought of himself as different from anyone else. As a child, Shilo was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism characterized by social awkwardness that affects a person’s ability to communicate effectively with others. His mother, Laura, was taken aback with his diagnosis but never let that define him. Over the years Laura and Shilo have struggled with many issues, including losing several close family members and living on a fixed income. Shilo has always enjoyed school and made good grades. When he heard about Foothills’ Youth Investment Program it caught his attention. “It sounded pretty cool,” said Shilo. He enjoyed attending the afterschool sessions; but what he really liked was landing his first paid job at Little Caesars Pizza. For the first time he was able to earn extra spending money. Shilo also enjoyed participating in community service projects – like preparing treat bags around Christmas time and going on field trips with other participants. Going to the Family Life Adventure Center and fishing were his favorite daytrips. “The program really helped pull Shilo out of his shell,” said Laura. “I began to see him socializing and interacting more with classmates and other people. My son became braver, more courageous.” The program helped Laura and Shilo in other ways too. “Many times we struggled financially,” said Laura. “Foothills always helped with clothing, food, and energy assistance. They were always there when we needed them.” They also provided her with emotional support. “As a single mom it’s hard,” she said, “so knowing that there are resources and people out there to help feels good. Even if it’s just to listen, it’s encouraging.” Shilo’s self-esteem, confidence, and independence have increased significantly through his participation in the YIP program. “The only limitations Shilo has are the ones he places on himself,” said Laura. “He is a very intelligent young man and will be successful in life.” With Foothills’ help, Shilo began attending Morehead State University in the fall. He wasn’t fearful that the university might be too big or worried whether he would fit in. He’s making new friends and thriving. He has the confidence in himself to succeed and is currently pursuing a degree in graphic arts. Shilo’s goals are to obtain a college degree, live on his own, and work in a fulfilling career.
The Youth Investment Program helped youth 16-18 years old in Estill and Powell counties obtain skills needed to graduate high school. It encouraged learning inside and outside the classroom by supporting youth through summer and year-round work experience and academic enrichment. The program helped youth obtain the skills they needed to graduate or receive their GED, and prepared them for college (visits and tours, applications, financial aid, ACT preparation, supplies, etc.) and/or employment (resume, interviewing, dress for success, applications, etc.). Community service opportunities and leadership activities were also provided. The program was funded from 2000-2016. Throughout those sixteen years foothills served over 867 participants.
A STANDOUT SUCCESS
Autumn believes a child’s first experience in a structured classroom sets the tone for early education years. She also believes that the first five years of a child’s life are profoundly important. They are the foundation that shapes children’s future health, happiness and development, and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and in life in general. That’s why she enrolled her daughter, Daylee into Head Start as soon as she could after moving to the area several years ago. The school setting is designed to give children structure and routines that are consistent. This gives children a sense of security while promoting responsibility, independence, and social interaction. The environment is set up for children to learn through play, positive interactions, communication, reasoning and problem solving, and establishing healthy behaviors. “I thought this was a great opportunity for Daylee,” said Autumn. Foothills’ Head Start program, started in 1966, helps economically disadvantaged children from birth to 5 years old develop educational and social skills. Head Start promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. The program develops partnerships with community agencies, including public schools, to provide additional services and resources for parents and children. Head Start works to meet each child's individual needs. Through this early socialization and educational experience, children who attend Head Start and Early Head Start are exposed to both the Head Start Early Learning Framework and the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards. Head Start encourages the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teachers. The program builds relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community. “I’m the kind of parent that wants to be involved in my daughter’s life,” said Autumn. “I’m interested in what she’s doing at school and what she’s learning.” Daylee attended Early Head Start for two years. “I loved the program,” said Autumn. “It’s incredible how much she’s learned.” As a single mom, the program helped her as well. Autumn was able to meet other families and learn about their experiences. And most importantly – she didn’t feel alone. She also found the courage to serve on the local Parent Committee and Area Policy Council, the body that provides oversight and shared governance for the program. She was elected as a Parent Representative in 2014 & 2015, and was recently elected as a Community Representative to serve through October 2017. She has twice attended the Kentucky Head Start Association Annual Conference in Louisville and the Head Start Regional Leadership Conference in Atlanta. Autumn’s Head Start experiences have encouraged her to look deeper into her potential. She has learned that to be a leader you must be knowledgeable and confident in yourself and your abilities. Through her involvement with Head Start, she’s overcome her innate fear of public speaking. She now dreams of teaching and working in a classroom. She wishes more people knew about Head Start and would recommend the program to anyone. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not been a part of the Foothills Head Start program,” said Autumn. “The program staff gave me a sense of security and self-confidence in obtaining my goals not only as a parent, but an individual.” Daylee loves school – especially recess and crafts. She enjoys reading and playing games on her LeapFrog Tablet. Autumn and Daylee are shining examples of what Head Start is designed to accomplish!
PROVIDING DIGNITY, RESPITE
Adult Day Care
The first thing you notice about Stephanie is her bright eyes. She’s imaginative and thoughtful; and in many ways a typical woman in her mid-twenties. She enjoys reading and watching Netflix. Some of her favorite books include The Harry Potter Series, The Twilight Saga, and The Shadowhunter Chronicles. One of her favorite shows is NCIS. She also enjoys shopping. Recently she’s taken up writing Fanfiction – her new favorite hobby. Fanfiction writers take either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, TV show, or movie, and create their own story based on it. Stephanie always has her laptop with her; and has written seven stories so far. “I have a huge imagination,” she said, “and writing helps me express myself.” Stephanie has epilepsy and suffers frequent seizures. Unable to stay alone, she started attending the Powell Adult Day Care in 2015. “It sounded fun,” explained Stephanie, who heard about the program from a neighbor who was also attending the center. “I was just sitting in the house not talking to anyone,” she said. After a brief visit, she knew this was the right place for her. Since 1999 Foothills has been providing respite through the Powell Adult Day Care to primary caregivers of persons over age 21 who are physically, mentally, or socially limited and require personalized care and attention. Payment is based on a sliding fee scale and may be paid by Medicaid. A nurse monitors medical needs and oversees medications. Three days a week Stephanie attends the center and receives high-quality care in a socially stimulating environment. She engages with other participants and staff members in a number of activities, from seated exercise, to music, and participating in art projects. She also enjoys conversation, playing cards, solving puzzles, and enjoying individual quiet time. In addition to a daily schedule of activities, center staff provide high-level care based on the participant’s needs. Clients like Stephanie are given personal attention that makes them feel valued and respected. Because she doesn’t drive, Stephanie travels to the adult day care using Foothills Express, the agency’s public transportation program. For her mother, Barbara, the center is an important source of support and peace of mind. She knows that her daughter is having fun and that her health is in good hands. Hearing from Stephanie that it’s been “a good day” helps her mom a lot. Since coming to the center, Stephanie’s mood is upbeat and she smiles more. She feels supported, has made friends, and no longer feels isolated. “The program and the people who run it are wonderful,” said Stephanie. “I look forward to coming to the center. They make me feel special here.”
FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE
Community Collaboration for Children
When Crystal was pregnant with her second child she didn’t expect anything to be different, new or challenging. She was excited to welcome her newborn daughter, Willow. She had recently separated from her boyfriend, but had a tremendous amount of family support. Due to extraordinary circumstances at the hospital, social services stepped in and Crystal’s world was turned upside down. She was using harmful coping skills that were inappropriate. At the time, a Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) caseworker decided that both children would be placed in foster care unless Crystal agreed to intensive services. “I was a basket case for a while,” said Crystal. “I decided to voluntarily do everything they required,” said Crystal. She loves her children and couldn’t stand the thought of having them removed from her. DCBS referred her case to Foothills’ Community Collaboration for Children (CCC) program for in-home case management services. CCC provides community-based services that educate, strengthen, and support families to prevent child abuse and neglect. CCC empowers the family unit by promoting the safety, well-being, strength and stability of children and families by teaching problem solving skills, appropriate discipline techniques, self-sufficiency, and coordinating community resources. Staff provide short term home based intervention services from birth to age 18. Participation is voluntary. Referrals can be made by any community partner, DCBS, or they can be self-referred. Along with In-Home Services, CCC provides monthly Regional Network meetings. “For a while I was extremely angry because I was trying to move on and felt like I was being held back,” said Crystal. But that anger slowly melted away. With the help of Foothills, Crystal began receiving the supportive services she desperately needed and was on her way to a more independent, focus driven life. Crystal worked hard to keep her children. She met often with both a DCBS and Foothills case worker. She was required to go to counseling and parenting classes. She also completed a relapse prevention plan. Recently Crystal began working in a new job as a personal health care aid. She enrolled Whitley, her oldest daughter, in Foothills’ Early Head Start program. Through DCBS and CCC, Crystal learned how to become a better mom. Crystal enjoyed the time she spent with Foothills’ staff. “It was really nice to have someone to talk to,” she said. She started to share her emotions and finally realized that she deserved to be happy. Her next goal is finding a place of her own to live – she currently lives with her parent’s in her childhood home. “Through this process I’ve learned how determined I was to keep my children,” said Crystal. “I’ve also learned to have more patience and am working on getting my self-esteem back up.”
NEVER TOO LATE
Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women
Falling into addiction is like falling into a bottomless, dark pit. Loved ones are left at the edge, trying, but often failing, to rescue the addict. Thankfully Christina was able to pull herself out of her pit of addiction and despair. In high school Christina loved socializing and partying with her friends. She quickly began drinking alcohol and experimenting with drugs. It was something she looked forward to. She now knows there were “red flags” that predicted she would become a full-blown addict. In her early twenties, she was arrested and was sentenced to prison for manufacturing methamphetamine. She was able to stay “dry” for five years, but as soon as she was paroled the insanity returned. The urge to get high was too powerful. When her parole officer discovered she was using drugs again he intervened. “He wanted to give me a chance and get real help rather than go back to prison,” she said. At the time she agreed because she was too scared to go back. He recommended she seek help at Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women, a residential substance abuse recovery program. In this safe place, Foothills supports women suffering from alcoholism and/or drug addiction to achieve sobriety, solve underlying problems, and learn to lead stable, productive lives. Located in Richmond, the program is part of the Recovery Kentucky Initiative and serves women in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. Christina was full of anger when she moved into the house. But slowly things began to change. “I started to open up to the suggestion of doing something different,” she said. “Listening to what other people had gone through and overcome gave me hope – something I didn’t have before.” She longed to feel free and laugh, something she couldn’t remember doing. While in the program, Christina had an epiphany that would change the course of her life. “I used to think freedom was being away from a fence,” she said, “because I lived so much of my life in prison surrounded by one. Liberty Place taught me that true freedom was freedom from your mind – it has nothing to do with fences or razor wire.” Christina chose to own all the consequences of her bad choices and, because of that, can say with conviction, “I am a grateful addict.” Liberty Place gave her the tools she needed and piece by piece, she began to rebuild her life. She made amends and restored damaged relationships with her parents, and most importantly, her two sons. She lives in her own apartment and dreams of going to college. While in the program, she worked as a Peer Mentor. Peer Mentors help other clients in the program, while actively participating in the program themselves. “I’m doing great,” she said, with a huge smile on her face. Since transitioning from the program two years ago, she was hired at Liberty Place as a Safe off the Streets Monitor, a job she loves. She enjoys providing tools for getting and staying sober. “I really enjoy helping people and giving back,” she said. Today Christina has a sense of freedom, confidence and knows that she’s not alone. “I still have my moments,” she said, “but I know that whatever happens everything will be okay. As long as I’m spiritually fit, I will remain sober.” Christina’s sobriety date is October 30, 2012.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Affordable Housing Program
As dreams go, owning a home is the best one that could have come true for Linda. Not too long ago she was homeless. She went through many personal struggles that left her living in her car, with only the clothes on her back and searching for a new beginning. “I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Linda. “I was also very sick.” Linda suffers from a myriad of health conditions, the majority of which are manageable but not curable. For over two years she had no insurance and no place to go. She would often visit her son and his girlfriend - all the while hiding her problems from them. “I didn’t want to burden them,” she admitted. Once she was approved to receive disability benefits she began to look for housing. She was able to move into the small hillside trailer her son had lived in before moving out. For four years Linda was able to have a place to call home but knew she couldn’t stay there forever. Before she even moved in, her landlord informed her that he wanted to sell the property. Feeling helpless, she didn’t know what she would do next. A friend encouraged her to talk with staff at the Foothills Housing Office and before she knew it, she was applying to own a home. Foothills’ Affordable Housing Program as¬sists low and moderate-income households to purchase homes through homebuyer education classes and one-on-one hom¬eownership counseling. Foothills uses grant funds to provide assistance, and the family secures a very low interest loan to cover the remaining cost. Also considered in the selection criteria are income guidelines, ability to pay a mortgage, a willingness to work with Foothills’ Homeownership Counseling program, and expectations of long-term residency in the home built for them. KRFDC partners with funding sources including Kentucky Housing Corporation, USDA Rural Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and local lenders to provide this service. “I really didn’t think I’d ever be able to own my own home,” said Linda. “I honestly thought I would have been back in my car again.” Her acceptance into the Foothills program excited her and finally gave her something to look forward to. “This came at a perfect time,” she says. “It was like winning the lottery. I was in shock!” She was in even more shock when she learned she would be able to relocate to another county - a change she desperately needed. “I was so tickled,” she said. “I needed a change of scenery – a fresh start.” Linda was able to pick her floor plan, paint colors, counter tops, vinyl flooring, carpet, shutters, and roofing. She was overwhelmed when she learned her home came with new appliances. Linda has big dreams for her home in the future. She’s looking forward to having family and friends over; she envisions a fenced-in yard where her small dog, Lady, can play; she can’t wait to decorate. The possibilities are endless, as is Linda’s enthusiasm. “I am so grateful for the staff and what they have helped me accomplish,” said Linda. “I don’t know what I would have done without Foothills. This house means the world to me. I am so proud!”
HEALTH CARE WITH DIGNITY
Healthcare for the Homeless
Gary is not the kind of guy who goes to the doctor at the drop of a hat. As a matter of fact, he’s always shied away from physicians even though he was struggling to manage his overall health. He reports having diabetes, high blood pressure, a touch of asthma and COPD. Due to a disability, he had to give up driving a truck – something he truly enjoyed for 33 years. After that he was also struggling to afford his prescription medications and was barely making ends meet. When he started having heart problems he knew he needed serious help. After having a couple of mild heart attacks, he found the Foothills Health & Wellness Clinic and has been a regular patient since 2006. During one of his early office visits he actually had a heart attack at the clinic. “The staff immediately got me to the hospital and took such good care of me,” said Gary. He fondly remembers that one of the staff members came to check on him at the hospital. “They didn’t have to do that, but they did.” Since then he’s felt very comfortable coming to the clinic and thinks of the staff as extended family. “I’m not just a number here,” said Gary. “I appreciate them and they appreciate me.” The Foothills Healthcare for the Homeless program has been providing a wide array of health care and related services to Powell and surrounding counties since 2005. Services are provided at the Health & Wellness Center in Powell County and include health, counseling, and supportive services. The center provides comprehensive medical services including physical examinations, immunizations (limited), office and laboratory testing, care for acute and chronic health problems, and Well-Woman exams. The program also serves Estill County by providing transportation to the center. The center provides quality holistic behavioral health services to its patients that include nutrition counseling, behavioral health counseling, substance abuse counseling, anger management, and parenting classes. The center provides a full array of services for our patients beyond their immediate health care needs such as prescription assistance, transportation to appointments, vouchers for dental and eye exams, and case management, and help with Benefind (Medicaid applications). The center accepts Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurance. They also offer a sliding fee program that can provide discounts on fees and co-pays (based on income). The center has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level One Patient Centered Medical Home. As a PCMH, Foothills strives to give the care patients need when they need it. The center also strives to give the care that meets patients’ needs and fits with their goals and values; gives care that is based on quality and safety; respects privacy; respects patients as individuals; and makes sure patients know and understand all of their options for care. With the help of Foothills, Gary was able to enroll in the clinic’s prescription assistance program. They’ve helped Gary lower his cholesterol and blood pressure over the years. He recently began seeing a dietician at the clinic for his diabetes. “I always get a few lectures from her,” he said, “but she’s always right.” Using improved nutrition and exercise he’s lost weight. He’s sleeping like a baby and for the first time in recent memory, and has energy to burn. He likes to piddle around in his garage and often helps a friend with his wrecking service. “It gives me something to do,” said Gary, “and it gets me out of the house.” Sometimes when Gary’s in the area he likes to pop in the clinic just to say ‘hi’ to the staff. He has two children and four grandchildren he sees often. “I can’t say enough about my experiences with Foothills,” said Gary. “I am so thankful they are here. They really keep me going. I hope that others are able to get the kind of help I was given.”
To be eligible for Healthcare for the Homeless services individuals must be homeless. An individual is considered homeless if they are without permanent housing. They may live on the streets, ‘doubled up’ with friends and/or extended family members, stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle, or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. People who pay a disproportionate amount of their income toward housing expenses may also qualify for the program.
KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON
Outreach Offices / Energy Assistance
Like many of Foothills’ clients, Michelle faced a crisis and needed emergency assistance to prevent a more costly disaster. A single mother of three, she ran into some hard times due to a bad back that ended her career. She also suffers from Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. She lives on a fixed income and fortunately is able to work-part time at The Salvation Army, a job she loves. The extra money helps, but she struggles every month. Two years ago she found herself unable to pay her utility bill. Her service was about to be shut off and she was desperate. She had her utilities cutoff once before and knew what it was like to sit in the dark. “I was so worried about what was going to happen,” she said. “I prayed that everything would work out.” A friend referred to her to the Madison County Outreach Office. “I felt prideful asking for help,” she said, “but I had to put that pride aside for my family.” Michelle went to the Foothills office to find out what community resources were available to her family. She was warmly greeted by a staff member who reviewed her paperwork and assured her that things would be okay. It was just the assurance she needed at that time. She qualified for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Without the worry of utility disconnection, Michelle had peace of mind and felt much better. “It was a load lifted off my shoulders,” she said. LIHEAP is a federally funded program that assists income-eligible households with home heating costs through two different programs: Subsidy (typically in November and December) and Crisis (typically January through March). A third component to help with summer cooling costs is offered when funds are available. Both homeowners and renters who are responsible for their heating bills and have low or fixed incomes are eligible. Qualifying participants will receive an energy assistance benefit. Energy services include electric, gas, kerosene, propane or wood. LIHEAP assistance is provided at Foothills’ four Outreach Offices where, with the help of its array of services and network of partners, clients often discover that they qualify for additional services that can help move them to self-sufficiency. Michelle has had LIHEAP assistance several times since she first applied and tries to never take it for granted. She says Foothills gave her hope, encouraged her, and did not make her feel belittled. She is grateful for all the assistance she received through the agency, saying “This program has been a godsend, thank you!” Pictured here: Michelle and her teenage son.
One of the toughest challenges an adult faces is realizing they shouldn’t drive anymore, especially someone as independent and successful as Guy. A Korean War Veteran, Guy has seen and done a lot in his life. He fondly remembers being stationed in Alaska for nearly two years. “It was so incredibly beautiful,” he said. “I loved my time there.” When he left the military and came home, he worked at Brown & Williamson, a tobacco company headquartered in Louisville, for 15 years. “I loved that job so much,” said Guy. “I would’ve done it forever if I could.” After that he spent a few years farming before eventually retiring. Fourteen years ago Guy knew it was time for him to give up his truck keys. The then-70-year-old had a near accident with a child pedestrian in a grocery store parking lot. It frightened him so badly that he didn’t want to drive anymore. But Guy was active and needed a way to get to various medical appointments, attend community events, and run important errands. He immediately found Foothills Express and has been a regular rider since. He uses the Berea Bus Service and the Madison County Connector Route, but what really helps Guy is the service he is able to utilize to get to the Lexington VA Medical Center. The agency’s transportation program, Foothills Express, gives riders the opportunity to live independently and participate fully in their communities. Foothills’ transportation program operates a variety of services in Madison County including the Berea Bus Service. The service, a partnership between Foothills and the City of Berea, is a deviated fixed route that runs Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm, and bus fare is $1 per day. Stops include stores, apartment communities, city and county offices, and businesses. Wheelchair assisted door-to-door service is available for no additional cost and bulk passes are available at a discounted rate. Foothills offers similar services in Richmond and Winchester. The Madison Connector Route, representing a partnership with the Madison County Fiscal Court, operates through the week and links the cities of Berea and Richmond (whose transit service represents a partnership with the City of Richmond). After reaching their destinations in either Berea or Richmond, riders are able to catch a ride on the City Transit Routes. Foothills Express also provides a Commuter Service from Winchester and Richmond to different locations in the Lexington area to assist employees in getting to their workplaces. In addition, Foothills provides all of Eastern Kentucky University’s Shuttle Services. For many people like Guy, Foothills Express is their only means of transportation. Since giving up his keys, Guy says he figures he came out ahead. He no longer has to maintain his car or carry insurance. And he gets door-to-door rides that he books in advance. “It’s cheaper and more fun than a taxi service,” he said. Guy sees many of the same people every day and has developed a rapport with them. “You get to know them, and they get to know you,” he said. He likes the friendliness of the drivers and feels safe traveling in the area. Now that he’s an old hand at public transit, he puts that experience to work helping new friends and neighbors by assisting them with bus route information. “This is a great service,” said Guy. “I don’t know what I would have ever done without them.”
Dorothy will be warmer in her home this winter while paying less in utility bills thanks to Foothills. For over 20 years Dorothy worked in a factory until she had a mild stroke at age 58. After a brief stay at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, she was able to continue therapy at home. A few years after her stroke, Dorothy had to have both of her knees replaced, as a result of working on her feet for so many years. Unable to work, she lives alone on a modest fixed income. She has three children who help look after her. She lives in a small, well maintained home but there were many things that have been neglected over the years. For years she didn’t know why her energy bills were so high. Most of the time, Dorothy wore a sweatshirt and wrapped up in a blanket to stay warm when she watched television instead of adjusting the thermostat. Dorothy heard about Foothills’ Weatherization program at a local food bank. The program helps improve homes by making them more energy efficient. Weatherization projects are targeted to homeowners and landlords who participate in the state’s energy assistance program. Typical Weatherization may include insulation of ductwork, attics, walls, and floors; repair or replacement of inefficient appliances; sealing of air infiltration, weather-stripping, sealing leaky doors and windows; and the installation of bath vent fans and smoke alarms. Persons may be eligible for these services if their total household income is at or below 200% of the poverty level and if they haven’t received Weatherization services since October 1, 1994. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Kentucky Housing Corporation. When Dorothy sought help, she found it – not in emergency assistance but in a long-term solution. After being approved for assistance, a Weatherization crew paid a visit to Dorothy. The crew used a blower door (a fan that forces air into the house) to identify leaks. They then determined which energy efficiency measures would be most appropriate and cost-effective for her home. To keep her living space warm, the crew blew cellulose insulation into the attic, sealed and insulated HVAC duct work, and installed fiberglass batt insulation into the floor. A vapor barrier was installed in her crawlspace to prevent moisture damage. They repaired and replaced gutters to direct rain and debris away from the home. The plumbing under her kitchen and bathroom sinks was sealed to prevent air leakage. The crew installed compact florescent light bulbs throughout the home, smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector. An HVAC contractor repaired her heat pump and an electrician repaired all electrical outlets and replaced the covers for safety. Through WeCare (Weatherization, Conservation Advice and Recycling Energy) a program offered through Kentucky Utilities, they also replaced an old, inefficient refrigerator with a new Energy Star model. Dorothy said ever since her home was improved, she has been pleasantly surprised to see her house is a lot more energy efficient, evident by the noticeable difference in her monthly energy bill. By reducing her energy costs, Foothills helped Dorothy free up money for other necessities, like food and medicine. In her spare time, Dorothy enjoys playing cards with friends, playing solitaire on her computer and baking. “I am so glad I was able to get help,” said Dorothy. “This program is fantastic. I am very thankful for what’s been done for me.”
STRUGGLE HITS HOME
Supportive Services for Veteran Families
John served our country for ten years after joining the National Guard in 2007 so that he could give his daughter a better life. In 2010 he began active duty in the Army. John married and had two more children during the time he was in the military. In January 2016 he completed his obligation and left the military with a general discharge. Upon leaving and transitioning back into civilian life, he moved into his in-laws’ house with his wife and three children. Personal problems ensued between John and his wife and they separated. John found himself broke, alone, and homeless when he was asked to leave the house. His world took a devastating turn overnight. He lived in his car for over a month. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be homeless,” said John. “I had always worked and taken care of myself. That was honestly the lowest point in my life.” During that time John was also dealing with depression, anxiety, and headaches. He has numerous aches and injuries to his body that are connected to his service and suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder. John was determined to turn his situation around. While at the unemployment office he learned about Foothills’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the SSVF project financially assists veterans who are facing eviction to remain housed or who are homeless to obtain housing through a variety of financial and supportive services such as rent payment, security deposit, utility deposits and other forms of assistance based upon the veteran’s need. John came to the agency for an informational meeting and before he knew it, case managers provided a rapid response to get him housing. John moved into an apartment and he quickly found employment - two things he desperately needed to provide for his children. John worked hard and was awarded custody of his children. “Being a single father is hard,” said John. “Most days I don’t really know what I’m doing, but together we’re figuring it out.” The program helped John obtain beds and clothing for himself and his children. “They went above and beyond what I ever imagined,” he said. In January 2017 John began receiving his monthly VA disability benefit. John is going to college to pursue an Associate’s Degree and work as a surgical technologist. His goal is to obtain his Bachelor’s degree in the future. By furthering his education, he’ll be able to provide a stable home for his children. He wants them to be safe, get a good education, and have some of the things he didn’t. John hopes to never go through such hard times again. “If it wasn’t for this program I would probably still be living in my car or at a friend’s house,” said John. “I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for me and my family.” Pictured l-r: Allie, John, Noah, and Cailey.
SSVF services are available to eligible residents or those relocating to Bath, Clark, Clay, Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Madison, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Powell, Rockcastle, and Rowan counties. Project eligibility: 1) Active Duty service with a discharge other than “Dishonorable”, 2a) Facing eviction with an eviction notification from current landlord or 2b) have no current permanent housing and living in a shelter, street, car, park, etc., 3) Household income must not exceed 50% of area median income.