Conserving water and energy are goals that Lakewood’s Sustainability Division is always focused on. The division is set on having a positive impact on the city’s environment and making it a …
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Conserving water and energy are goals that Lakewood’s Sustainability Division is always focused on. The division is set on having a positive impact on the city’s environment and making it a thriving community for future residents.
That is why Lakewood announced a partnership at the beginning of last month with Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC), a nonprofit organization that gives people ages 16 to 24 a chance to make money and learn hands-on job skills that better the community. The nonprofit works on community service projects, and it’s been at it for 26 years.
The partnership will focus on a project that targets some of Lakewood’s most vulnerable residents by offering them water and energy saving measures that don’t cost anything for residents. Those measures revolve around energy efficient toilets, bathroom and kitchen sink aerators, low-flow showerheads and education programs that teach residents ways to make their homes more energy efficient. The city and MHYC want to lower utility bills for vulnerable residents, and they’re hoping to help 350 households in the city.
“We’re excited to see the impact. One of the great things is that (the project) is very measurable. We’ll get some great data to see what impact we made with energy savings and with households. This is really a win, win program to have Lakewood reap the benefits,” said Lynn Coppedge, Lakewood’s senior sustainability planner.
Lakewood is planning on supporting the partnership through marketing and outreach tactics. MHYC will reach out to at least 3,500 low-income residents over the next 18 months through neighborhood canvasing, direct mail, phone banks and client referral programs. City residents fit the bill of being low-income if they receive low-income supportive services, or if they report an annual household income of less than 80 percent area median income.
Jeslin Shahrezaei, director of development and communications for MHYC, said that some Lakewood residents living conditions’ make their utility bills more expensive than they have to be. Shahrezaei lives in Lakewood, and she believes that Lakewood is ready for the project.
“There are a lot of families in Lakewood who could benefit from this. We want people to know what is available to them,” Shahrezaei said.
The project is set up so that people ages 16 to 24 can go inside low-income residents’ households and set up the different energy efficient items. The education program is offered in English and Spanish, and some of its teaching are as simple as not leaving the sink water running when residents are brushing their teeth.
Lakewood and MHYC’s partnership is funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Water Plan Grants program.
Andrew Halpern, the project manager for MHYC’s energy and water conservation program, said he thinks Lakewood and MHYC’s partnership can have a rippling impact on the community.
“This partnership shows the opportunity that can arise to influence and make a triple-impact on our communities, our environment, and the development of our young people, when we bring together local governments, state agencies and non-profit organizations such as MHYC,” Halpern said.
To see if your household is eligible for the project call MHYC at (720) 974 0500, or visit www.milehighyouthcorps.org.
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