Bridgeton-based Native American Advancement Corporation awarded weatherization grants
Bridgeton-based Native American Advancement Corporation awarded weatherization grants Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 12:37 PM Updated: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 12:47 PM By Lauren T. Taniguchi/The News of Cumberland County The News of Cumberland County BRIDGETON — While programs providing heating fuel assistance offer a quick fix against the cold, the Native American Advancement Corporation (NAAC) provides weatherization services as a cure.
“We go for what is the main cause of the problem to address what is really needed,” said Tyrese Gould, President/CEO of NAAC, explaining that fuel assistance without weatherization solutions is literally “money out the door.”
To help fund its efforts to install energy conservation methods in homes, the NJ Third Legislative District office of Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, Deputy Speaker John J. Burzichelli and Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley have announced that NAAC will receive an NJ Department of Community Affairs Heating Improvement Program (HIP) grant of $300,000.
This grant will permit the NAAC to upgrade heating systems in eligible, low-income residences to provide immediate and long-range relief to households by lowering fuel bills and to provide safe home heating systems, according to Lisa Ryan, Public Information Officer with the Department of Community Affairs.
The HIP grant follows a $1-million Department of Energy Weatherization grant awarded to NAAC in November 2010 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Both grants result from NAAC’s experience weatherizing housing units as a sub-grantee of Tri-County Community Action Partnership, a contracted relationship begun in July 2009 that has resulted in 223 weatherized units to date.
“In that capacity, [NAAC] gained knowledge and skill to be able to be awarded grants directly under ARRA,” Ryan wrote. “Now as a stand-alone agency, NAAC submitted a request for funding to be able to assist those clients that would need heating repair or replacement as well as weatherization; thus they were awarded funds to address this need.”
Having just received 501(c)3 non-profit status for NAAC in April 2010, Gould expressed gratitude to Tri-County CEO Albert Kelly, the Tri-County Weatherization Team and Clarice Sabree-Sylla, former DCA director of weatherization, for providing support to the NAAC in its infancy.
Gould founded NAAC to provide resources and services to a Native American population that remains very private to, and often wary of, external entities and thus “falls through the cracks” of many traditional public assistance programs. In addition to weatherization, NAAC’s services include “employment training, home acquisition, rehabilitation and repair and related trade oriented projects for income qualified Native American citizens in the Southern New Jersey service area,” according to its mission statement.
“We want to help elders and youth reorganize to continue to help our people who are suffering,” Gould said. “This is a new generation.”
Although NAAC’s primary intention is to identify and meet the needs of the Native American population, it reaches this goal by providing wide-reaching community services in accordance to financial need. Under these non-exclusionary programs, NAAC is able to serve Native Americans through its unique insider access to the population, as Gould is an active member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribe whose father is a tribe chief.
Requirements for HIP grant funding include responsibility of home heating or cooling costs, either directly or included in rent; a demonstrated need for mechanical/heater upgrade or replacement and gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, according to Ryan. NAAC will process requests by application at its Bridgeton headquarters.