AHIP, Dominion Energy, and LEAP Ramp Up Comfort for Charlottesville Mobile Home

For Immediate Release

Charlottesville, VA

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP), and Dominion Energy’s EnergyShare program teamed up earlier this year to increase comfort and reduce the energy burden of a local home – and today they collaborated once again to make the home even more livable. Mary Benson and her disabled mother, Thelma, live in a mobile home in Charlottesville. Mary (55) is the sole caregiver for Thelma (75), who has numerous health issues, including a below-the-knee foot amputation that has left her wheelchair-bound.

Mrs. Benson reached out to AHIP because her current ramp is too steep and has no slip resistance; she’s fallen out of her wheelchair several times, and her daughter has also fallen on the ramp. Today, volunteers gathered to build a new wheelchair ramp for Thelma. Mary is looking forward to the new ramp, saying, “When someone takes my mother in and out of the house, it’s like pushing a car up a hill because the incline of the ramp is so steep. We are just so thankful for you all doing the work.”

Once AHIP was involved, they found that the house could benefit from some help from LEAP, and called them in to assist. The two nonprofits have been working together since 2011 and are always happy to have each other as an additional resource for their clients. The built-in heating system in the Benson home was broken and unserviceable for years, causing them to resort to using electric space heaters and unvented kerosene heaters to keep warm in the colder months – an unsafe and unhealthy practice that was costing them as much as $400 a month.

Using funds from Dominion Energy’s EnergyShare program, LEAP upgraded their electrical service, installed two ductless mini-splits to efficiently serve their heating and cooling needs, replaced their light bulbs with LEDs, installed water-saving faucet and showerhead aerators, and shored up the home’s underbelly insulation. These measures allow the Bensons to live more comfortably and safely in their residence. Support through partnerships with the Community Climate Collaborative, AHIP, the City of Charlottesville, and private funders, allowed for the completion of the above as well as some additional work. 

“LEAP and Dominion Energy have been essential mission partners in our home rehab energy upgrade work,” AHIP Executive Director Jen Jacobs said. “It allows us to not only improve the safety of a client’s home but also its energy efficiency, which means cost savings for clients and a smaller environmental footprint for our community.”

“Collaboration with community partners like LEAP and AHIP is the foundation of the EnergyShare program. Without them, the program would not be able to effectively reach and provide weatherization services to those most in need in the communities we serve. It is through these partnerships that families like the Bensons are able to have their homes made more safe, comfortable, and affordable,” explained EnergyShare Program Manager Malesia Taylor.

“Collaborating with AHIP on assisting the Benson household was a no-brainer for us. I’m thankful that Dominion Energy is supporting this type of essential work – especially before the winter heating season begins and weather makes accessibility that much more difficult,” stated LEAP’s Executive Director Chris Meyer.

So far this year, Dominion Energy and LEAP have already partnered on two similar home rehab projects with AHIP to keep community members safe at home. All of the stakeholders involved are excited to continue working together to make a positive impact in the community, bringing comfort and savings to more Virginia residents in the future.

Residents can sign up for LEAP services at their home here: bit.ly/LEAP-AHIP-DE-Event-Sign-Up

Chris Meyer, Executive Director, Local Energy Alliance Program, chris@leap-va.org, 434-409-0097‬
Elise Noyes, Development Manager, AHIP, enoyes@ahipva.org, 434-996-1856
Enrique Diaz, Media and Communications, Dominion Energy, enrique.b.diaz@dominionenergy.com, 804-771-6115


The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. As a trusted nonprofit, LEAP delivers direct education and services for improved energy performance that address climate change; create cost savings for families and businesses; enable healthier, safer, and more durable buildings; and bolster local jobs and economic growth.

Website: leap-va.org
Email: info@leap-va.org
Facebook: Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)
Twitter: @LEAP_VA

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