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Program provides family with new HVAC unit

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

msubiria@news-daily.com

A Rex family won't have to endure extremely hot or cold temperatures, thanks to a new heating and cooling system received via a Housing Authority of Clayton County program.

Martin and Cathy Brown are currently enjoying their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, which was installed in their home through the Housing Urgency Grants (HUG) program, said Chris Wood, spokesman for the Authority.

"We're just so thankful for what the Housing Authority did for us," said Cathy Brown. "God answered our prayers through them, and we're doing great as a result."

Cathy Brown said her family had a non-working HVAC unit for about two years, and was financially unable to replace it.

Housing Authority spokesman Wood said that before the Browns sought help, they took matters into their own hands. He said Martin Brown works for Jones Lang Lasalle, and provides maintenance services to buildings and properties managed by the company. Martin Brown

used his skills in attempting to repair his own HVAC unit, but it was not repairable.

"It was just -- the unit was kaput," said Wood.

He said that it was essential for the Browns to get assistance, since their three young children were being home-schooled in the household.

After the Browns came to the conclusion the unit was unable to be fixed, they began to search for local programs available to Clayton County residents in need of home rehabilitation, said the spokesman.

"We had already gone through two winters using space heaters when our HVAC unit went down, and we were barely making due...I was driven to find a solution, because we couldn't go through another winter with the house like that," added Cathy Brown.

According to Wood, the Browns first contacted the Clayton County Community Services Authority to see whether they qualified for a weatherization program, sometime around fall of 2010.

Housing Authority spokesman Chris Wood explained that officials of the Community Services Authority visited the Brown's home, and determined they did not need the program. They referred the couple to the Housing Authority of Clayton County's HUG program, because what they needed was a new HVAC unit.

"We called the Housing Authority, they reviewed our application and placed us on a [prioritized] list," said Cathy Brown. "The entire process went smoothly and they kept us in the loop on what they needed from us and how things were going in terms of available funding."

Wood said priority level for the HUG program, is determined by the nature of the emergency and sense of urgency for the home repair. Top priorities include addressing imminent dangers or threats of health to the residence, which include failing furnaces and, or air conditioning, he said.

Housing Authority officials added that people must also meet income qualifications to apply.

Wood explained that both the Housing Authority and the Community Services Authority have a great partnership and have knowledge of the programs provided by each.

Beechie Yates, comptroller for the Clayton County Community Services Authority, said its weatherization program assists people in Clayton, Henry and Fayette counties. The program allows the conservation of energy by preventing air leakage in a home, and reducing heat and air conditioning consumption. This is done by filling areas where outside air may come through, including light switches. Caulking around doors and windows can also prevent air from entering, if it is a problem area. Those who would like to participate in the program must meet poverty income guidelines, Yates said.

The Community Services Authority delivers essential services through various programs which assist in improving the quality of life, self-sufficiency and responsible community involvement among citizens, said Yates.

For more information about the HUG program contact the Housing Authority at (404) 362-1200. For more information about the Community Services Authority, visit www.claytoncountycsa.org.