Posted on December 11, 2012

Bakersfield: PG&E Donates to Habitat and Brings Holiday Cheer to Families

By Tracy Correa

BAKERSFIELD – Habitat for Humanity and PG&E celebrated a new effort to rehabilitate existing homes in Kern County and delivered some holiday cheer to deserving families.

On Monday (Dec. 10), PG&E representatives handed over a ceremonial $50,000 check to nonprofit Habitat for Humanity Golden Empire and then gathered to deliver Christmas trees and lights to families.

Amanda Bratcher, a PG&E community relations associate, prepares a Christmas tree for delivery to a Bakersfield family.

The PG&E grant will be used for purchasing and rehabilitating foreclosed homes and to carry out home repairs as part of the “Brush With Kindness” home repair project.

Terry Scott, PG&E’s executive manager of energy solutions and services in Bakersfield, presented the check, saying the funding will help keep people in their homes and make existing neighborhoods safer and more secure.

Bakersfield is one of three communities selected for the PG&E-Habitat partnership to improve distressed neighborhoods, increasing quality of life in these communities. The other two areas benefiting from the $300,000 PG&E grant-funded program are San Francisco and the East Bay. The partnership to rehabilitate homes is an extension of PG&E’s Solar Habitat program.

Filling a huge void in the community

Dennis Wallace, executive director of Habitat Golden Empire, accepted the check saying it will help fill a huge void in the community.

“This $50,000 is going to be a tremendous help,” Wallace said. The families that will benefit are not necessarily habitat families, but families that need help, he said.

PG&E troubleman Jason Payne sets up a Christmas tree for a Bakersfield family who received assistance from Habitat for Humanity earlier this year. Habitat built a ramp for the entry way. The family was thrilled to have a tree this holiday season and mentioned they have not been able to afford one the past seven years.

“The opportunity to work with low-income seniors and disabled families to increase their mobility in and out of their homes, to make needed repairs to allow them to stay in their homes and, just make overall improvements that they could not otherwise make — we are reaching a whole different segment of the population.”

One of the families being helped will receive a wheelchair ramp that they could never afford to build.

An elderly woman and her adult, wheelchair-bound daughter live in the home. Wallace said they are virtually trapped in the house, “because they couldn’t get her [daughter] in and out.”

Delivering holiday cheer (and trees and lights)

After the check presentation, PG&E employee volunteers delivered Christmas trees and 80 boxes of LED lights to homeowners, including the woman and her daughter. The trees were delivered on PG&E bucket trucks. A total of 10 families received trees — one of the families had not had a Christmas tree in seven years.

Since the inception of the company’s Solar Habitat Program in 2007, PG&E has donated more than $6 million to help respond to the housing needs of families in Northern and Central California and has assisted in the construction of 416 solar-powered Habitat homes. In addition, thousands of PG&E employees have worked at Habitat build sites throughout the state.

This new initiative builds on the efforts to provide affordable housing to California families by revitalizing existing homes in the communities PG&E serves. By leveraging PG&E’s expertise in weatherization and energy efficiency, vulnerable residents can safely stay in their homes, foreclosed homes can welcome new families, and neighborhoods remain vibrant and intact.

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