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The power of partnership

Furman's Community Conservations Corps teamed up with two other agencies to weatherize this Greenville home.
With help from Furman's Community Conservation Corps, Habitat for Humanity and Rebuild Upstate, Janine Griggs will live in a safer, more energy-efficient home.

Partnership packs a punch. Just ask Janine Griggs. Thanks to a group effort between Furman University’s Community Conservation Corps (CCC), Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County and Rebuild Upstate, Griggs’ home in the city’s Greater Sullivan neighborhood was recently rehabilitated and weatherized.

The house, built in 1948, has been home to the Greenville native and her two children for the past 18 years. In 2013, Griggs was talking with her neighbor in the yard when the woman’s pit bull attacked her. Her injuries, which required surgery and resulted in serious nerve damage to her right arm, forced the former certified nursing assistant to go on disability. “The attack altered my whole life,” she says.

When the single mother on a fixed income realized her roof was leaking into her living room and bedroom, she contacted Hannah Dailey, program coordinator for Furman’s David E. Shi Sustainability Center, to ask for help from the CCC. She originally applied for weatherization of her home, but when the Community Conservation Corps came in to look at the house other necessary repairs were identified. That’s where the other two organizations came in.

Dailey was comparing notes with Rebuild Upstate, a local nonprofit organization that repairs and improves existing homes for the elderly and disabled, when she found out they were also slated to work on Griggs’ home.

During a pre-audit of the house, Habitat Greenville, which acts as a contractor and provides labor for Community Conservation Corps weatherization projects, noticed repairs it could contribute as part of its new Home Preservation Program. Turns out that Griggs’ house, along with a group of others in the neighborhood, had been purchased and renovated by Habitat in the early 1990s. “It wasn’t intentional in the beginning,” Dailey recalls, “but it turned into an intentional project in the end.”

Rebuild Upstate did its work first, replacing all the windows in April. The following month, Habitat repaired rotted subflooring throughout the home, did some minor electrical work, and, most significantly, replaced the roof and the HVAC system. Last, but hardly least, the CCC came in to do the weatherization.

“Partnerships are the name of the game for us in order to make the biggest impact for families,” says Jennifer Faner, director of homeowner and community engagement for Habitat Greenville. “To provide all the things we were able to provide to this homeowner, it really sets her up to be safe and to be able to stay in her house.”

Griggs will also realize significant savings in her utility bills. At the beginning of the project, the duct system in her home had 10 percent air leakage. “Our target is to reduce air leakage to 5 percent, but when we came back to this home we found only 1 percent leakage,” Dailey reports. “That is amazing.”

“There’s always going to be limited resources, and we’re never going to be able to do as much as we want,” adds Melanie Campbell, development specialist for Rebuild Upstate. “But if we can go in collaboratively, we’re able to give the homeowner a more holistic repair experience.”

Griggs certainly appreciates it. “It’s been such a blessing having these three organizations be able to accommodate all my needs,” Griggs exclaims. “I feel like I’m back in a brand-new house without having to worry about fixing anything!”

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