As the oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS, Jerusalem House believes housing is healthcare.
According to Jerusalem House, housing results in improved health outcomes for the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS. Jerusalem House achieves these outcomes through its four residential programs: Program for Adults, Family Program, and Scattered Site I and II Programs. In total, Jerusalem House’s 140 units provide 59% of the available permanent supportive HIV housing in Atlanta.
Beyond meeting basic housing needs, Jerusalem House understands the importance of providing a healthy housing environment for residents and maximizing efficiency and cost savings. To that end, Jerusalem House has had two of its buildings’ energy usage and efficiency assessed and has applied for and been awarded Implementation funding of over $80,000 to make energy upgrades and improvements at these two facilities.
Jerusalem House’s N. Decatur Rd. facility houses the Family Program for homeless mothers with HIV/AIDS and their children, the first of its kind in the state of Georgia. Originally commissioned by Asa G. Candler, the home operated as the Davison School for the Deaf for 25 years before undergoing renovation and expansion in the mid-1990s to become the Jerusalem House Family Program. The program building is now more than 100 years old and had not been renovated since 1997.
In 2010, Jerusalem House applied for and was awarded Implementation funding of $33,376 to implement the following assessment recommendations at its Family Program facility:
- Insulate the office and apartment attics, the Learning Center and the hot water pipes
- Replace T12 lighting with T8 and change the Exit lights to LED models
- Replace the HVAC system and equipment on both floors and patch duct leaks
- Install low flow faucets and point of use water heaters
Since implementing these recommendations at the Family Program facility, Jerusalem House has realized a 21% reduction in energy usage and nearly $10,000 in cost savings. These savings have been diverted back into Jerusalem House’s programs, enabling them to better serve their clients.
According to Jerusalem House’s Director of Housing and Residential Services, Janice Harris-Corry, the renovations to the Family House have been very beneficial. “It has been a blessing to perform upgrades to the Family Program facility. Over the years, the age of the site had made climate control during the summer and winter months difficult and costly. Since the improvements, the staff has spent less time worrying about the physical conditions of their working and living spaces and focused their efforts on providing a welcoming and safe environment for all residents, volunteers and visitors.”
Erica, a Family Program Resident agrees. “Seeing the improvements Jerusalem House has made to our apartments makes me feel like part of a community, a family that cares about each other’s needs.”
Jerusalem House hopes to see similar savings from its implementation efforts at their Program for Adults facility on Briarcliff Road. This facility opened in 1989 to provide a home and supportive services to five homeless men and women with AIDS. Today, this expanded facility houses the Program for Adults and serves approximately 25 individuals annually. The Program for Adults contains 23 efficiency apartments plus common areas that include a kitchen, dining room, living room, screened porch, exercise room, and TV areas. The program building is now more than 80 years old and had not been renovated since 1991.
In 2012, Jerusalem House applied for and was awarded $50,000 to implement the following assessment recommendations at its program building:
- Install ductless mini-splits in apartments
- Install ultra-efficient toilets
- Add roof insulation
- Replace insulation on HVAC refrigerant lines
- Replace candelabra lighting and retrofit T12 lighting with T8 lighting
- Insulate hot water pipes, install low-flow faucets and reduce kitchen exhaust hood usage.
Even though Jerusalem House just completed all of the upgrades to its Program for Adults location in December 2013, they have already realized a 7% reduction in energy and water usage and nearly $5000 worth of savings. As the benefits of the upgrades they made are realized, Jerusalem House will achieve even greater savings.
In addition to realizing these savings, Jerusalem House has attracted and acquired new donors as a result of participating in Grants to Green. “Doing this innovative work has raised our profile and allowed us to showcase our ability to reduce costs in a progressive and environmentally sustainable way,” said Donor Relations Manager Ermis Zayas.