Tag Archives: CHAI

Beating the Summer Heat with CHAI


By Aryeh Goetz
Director of Neighborhood Investment, CHAI

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts this summer will be hotter and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in early to mid-July and early to mid-August. But knowing ahead of time that we’ll need to stay cool during the summer is only half the battle. What’s the other half? Preparation!

By trying these simple tips, you can keep your home cool and comfortable, while also cutting your cooling costs. It’s good for the environment and good for your wallet!

1. Use ceiling fans
The interesting thing about fans is that they don’t actually cool a room; they just make it feel cooler, by blowing the hot air away from your body. Fans can make a room feel up to seven degrees cooler, and they use much less electricity than the air conditioner. So make sure your ceiling fans are turned on high before you turn the temperature down. Box fans are a great alternative if you don’t already have ceiling fans around your home.

2. Replace the air filter
Clogged filters will limit your air conditioner’s effectiveness and are expensive. Show your AC unit some love and change the filter. You can pick up new, inexpensive filters at a grocery or home improvement store. Remember to check the size of the filter before purchasing. For best results, replace the filters once a month.

3. Cover your windows
Window treatments are not just a design element: they can help keep heat out, thereby reducing your electricity bill. If you have blinds or curtains, keep them closed. If you are looking to purchase new window treatments for your home, know that lighter colored fabrics deflect the sun’s rays better. Insulated curtains will do the best job of keeping the heat out.

4. Turn off heat generators
Running computers and televisions all day will put out a lot of heat. Be sure to turn them off when you aren’t using them and unplug them, too. Using the oven or stove will also heat up your home in a flash.

5. Avoid setting the thermostat excessively low
Sure, it’s tempting to crank the air conditioner down to 65 after spending time outdoors when it’s 100 degrees (or higher). But this won’t cool your home any faster. Even worse, you might forget that you set it extremely low, resulting in unnecessary cooling costs.

6. Smart Ways to Save on the AC

  •  Set the thermostat at 70° to 75°F when you’re home and 80°F when you’re not. Don’t turn it off completely before leaving the house. It can cost more to cool the house back down once it overheats.
  •  Position electric devices like lamps, TVs, or computers at least a few feet away from your AC thermostat. The AC can sense heat from these appliances, which can cause it to run longer than necessary.
  • Place room units on the north side of the house when possible. An AC unit operating in the shade uses up to 10 percent less electricity than one in the sun.
  • Know when to upgrade. In terms of energy use, you may want to consider a new AC if yours is more than 10 years old (window unit) or 12 years old (central air) — and definitely if it’s not cooling as well as it used to. It will save up to 30 percent off your bill.

8. Remember: Heat Rises
Attics can reach temps of 150°F. Take measures to properly insulate this area from the rest of the house: Install sweeps and weather-stripping around the door.

CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. wants you to know that there is help for the hot and weary! With the CHAI Energy Savings Loans, you can receive an interest-free loan of up to $10,000 to use toward home improvements that will help make your home more energy efficient. There are no income restrictions. You can live in the 21215 zip code in the city or in Pikesville, Mt. Washington, Owings Mills, Reisterstown or Randallstown!

Visit chaibaltimore.org to apply for the Energy Savings Loan. You can download the application right from our homepage.

Wishing you an enjoyable, safe and cool summer!


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One Gift Reaches Thousands

By Michael Hoffman
Chief Planning and Strategy Officer

We may not agree on everything, but we can all agree on this: We are part of a special community, and The Associated is the gateway to supporting the needs of the entire community – from baby to bubbie. The Associated is committed to being as efficient and effective as possible, maximizing the limited human and financial resources for the overall benefit of our community. We bring together Jews from across the spectrum – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, secular and everyone in between – to help one another live better lives in Baltimore, in Israel and around the world.

This year, with the help of our donors, The Associated distributed $47.2 million in total resources to support efforts that strengthen Jewish life here in Baltimore and overseas. These resources are anchored by the power of the unrestricted Annual Campaign which raised $30 million. Thanks to the stability of these resources, we will once again to be able to provide our local and overseas agencies with 100 percent funding so that they can continue to provide meaningful services to our fellow community members in need. Here in Baltimore, we have much to be proud of. This year’s accomplishments ensured that next year’s funding plan continues to be a safety net for everyone in our community. And it was.

We pioneered care for the vulnerable

senior nnc
CHAI’s Northwest Neighbors Connecting (NNC) continued to develop a diverse, interdependent community in northwest Baltimore City and is now one of the fastest-growing villages in the country with over 175 members in its first year.

We invested in our youth

Jewish summer camps are an immersive way to ignite positive Jewish memory and lasting Jewish living for our children. Understanding the powerful potential of summer experiences, we launched the Center for Jewish Camping to build excitement and participation in Jewish day and overnight camps.

We deepened Jewish life

The active participation of Baby Boomers in Jewish life became a priority. Baby Boomers have the time, resources and drive for meaningful, active life that can benefit the community and themselves. We convened the Baby Boomer Task Force which identified volunteer service as an opportunity for significant engagement. Looking forward, Jewish Volunteer Connection will develop strategies to connect these skilled Baby Boomers with specific community needs.

We developed a global peoplehood

global peoplehood
For more than 20 years, the Baltimore-Odessa Partnership has advanced the revitalization of Jewish life in Odessa and built personal connections between our two communities. This year, our support was critical as we rushed to the aid of the Jewish community in our sister city. By making funds immediately available to our overseas partners and raising additional funds from our community, we were able to add heightened security measures for Jewish institutions across Ukraine and provide a much needed life line to the vulnerable in Odessa.

These are just a small sampling of all of the wonderful projects, initiatives and efforts that happened right here in Jewish Baltimore. The need is real and so is your power to make a difference. Together we are creating a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community – day by day and from generation to generation. Whether it’s providing care for the vulnerable, investing in our youth, enriching the quality of Jewish live or deepening our sense of global peoplehood, The Associated exists so you can give – and receive – meaningfully.

To read our 2013-2014 Report to the Community that includes the full FY14 Funding Plan, click here.

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Filed under Families, Israel & Overseas, Philanthropy, Seniors, Social Services, Special Needs, Uncategorized, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women, Young Adults

Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?


By Aryeh Goetz
Director of Neighborhood Investment
CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.

Northwest Baltimore City, more specifically, the five neighborhoods of the Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. (CHAI) general services area (GSA) is my home territory The neighborhoods –Cheswolde, Cross Country, Fallstaff, Glen and Mt. Washington – are where I live, work and pray; where my family and I experience the vitality of Jewish life.

My major goal with my position at CHAI is to get the word out about the great amenities and features of the neighborhoods and the opportunities to own a home here. That’s easy. The green lawns, mature trees and prominent parking availability make the CHAI neighborhoods unlike most other neighborhoods in Baltimore City. It’s as close to suburban living as you can get. I love to tell people about the various housing styles and beautiful architecture of the houses that are available.

It is convenient to live in our GSA. All five neighborhoods are within the eruv. There are many choices of kosher eateries, shopping, synagogues and schools. Park Heights Avenue boasts the beautiful Weinberg Park Heights JCC which is more than just a gym; it is the hub of Jewish activity. Whether you are a young family, a senior citizen or anyone in between, you will find our neighborhoods have exactly what you’re looking for.

CHAI provides a wealth of services to help anyone looking to move to the CHAI GSA. Go to our website, chaibaltimore.org, for lots of information about various loans and grants that are available. There are extra special loan incentives for people looking to move to Fallstaff and Glen neighborhoods. Most important, we want you to know that we will help you find the house of your dream and we will teach you the tools to be a successful homeowner.

In the famous words of Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, “Won’t you please; won’t you please? Please won’t you be my neighbor?” Begin your visit to our neighborhoods at chaibaltimore.org and find information about CHAI loans, open house tours, homebuyers’ workshops, homebuyer counseling, financial incentives and more.


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10 Energy Saving Tips For Your Home


By Kristerfer Burnett
Neighborhood Organizer
CHAI:Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.

With summer behind us and fall in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about how to reduce those rising energy bills. You know … the bills that you are too afraid to open so you leave it on the table for a few days? During the fall and winter months energy costs often double for the average household, causing many of us to tighten our budgets.

But, you can start saving energy now! Here are a few tips from our friends at the Baltimore Energy Challenge that you can use to save energy, save money and live sustainably:

  1.  Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)
    CFLs use much less energy than traditional bulbs and last about six times longer.
  2. Turn Down the Thermostat and/or Install a Programmable Thermostat
    You can save over $200 a year by simply turning down your thermostat three degrees. Installing a programmable unit can make remembering to do this even easier!
  3. Wrap and Turn Temperature Down on Hot Water Heater
    Purchasing an insulating jacket for your hot water heater can produce valuable energy savings. Most of the cost associated with operating a hot water heater is maintaining the temperature of the water when it’s not in use.
  4.  Get Low-Flow Showerheads
    Installing low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as 70 percent. In addition, you’ll use less energy heating up the water.
  5. Turn Stuff Off and Use Powerstrips to Do It
    Many electronic devises draw energy when they are not in use, simply by being plugged into the socket. Be sure to plug as many of them as you can onto a powerstrip and be sure to turn it off when you aren’t using them.
  6. Wash Laundry Using Cold Water and Line Dry Your Clothes
    You can reduce your energy cost per load by 90 percent if you use cold water to wash laundry. Also, drying machines represent as much as 12 percent of the cost  on  your energy bill! If you can, install a retractable line to hang them outside to dry on nice days.
  7. Increase Refrigerator Efficiency
    Reduce energy use and efficiency of your refrigerator by cleaning the coals, semi-annually. These are often located underneath the unit.
  8. Maintain Your Heating System
    About one-third of your annual household energy costs are associated with your home’s heating system. Be sure to have it maintained regularly so that you can save on your heating costs.
  9. Insulate and Air Seal Your Home
    The majority of the homes in Baltimore allow cool air and heat to leak out. Weatherizing your home using window plastic and other easy-to-install tools can do a lot to prevent leakage.
  10.  Educate Your Family Members and Neighbors
    Sharing these tips is a great way to get members of your family and neighbors to join you in reducing energy consumption!

Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI) and The Associated are working on a few new initiatives to reduce your household’s energy consumption and help you save money. On October 6, 1 – 4 p.m., you’ll have the opportunity to learn more at the Northwest Energy Expo. It’s being held at The Myerberg Center.

Many key non-profits and businesses from the energy industry will discuss behaviors and practices that reduce energy consumption and help you save money. This wonderful event will feature break-out sessions on topics such as the “ins and outs” of having an energy audit done in your home, the benefits of home energy retrofits and tips on small things you can do around the house to conserve energy.

Finally, if you reside in the five Northwest neighborhoods that CHAI serves (Glen, Fallstaff, Cheswolde, Mt. Washington, Cross Country) you’ll have an opportunity to apply for the new interest-free Energy Savings Loan, which allows you to borrow either $5,000 or $10,000 for energy-related home renovations.

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Tips for Beating The Summer Heat


By Lane Levine
Community Network Director
Northwest Neighbors Connecting

Were you around last summer when that big thunderstorm hit? How about Hurricane Sandy in the fall? Did you have a plan for how to manage the power outages, hot summer days and wet weather?

Here at CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.,) – an organization that supports the stability of the Park Heights community – we have been working hard to plan for how to prepare and respond to emergencies in our neighborhood. Our Senior Home Repair program distributes emergency kits to its 300 clients, and checks in on people who are most vulnerable. Northwest Neighbors Connecting (NNC), our new mutual support network for seniors, provides emergency preparedness trainings twice a year to make sure its members have the tools and plans they need to be ready. NNC also has a network of friendly check-in callers, who will be able to make sure their calling partners are OK.

If you live in an apartment building in the area, check with your manager to see whether there is a door tag program in the building, where you can have someone check to make sure you’re OK every morning. You can call us at CHAI – 410-466-1990 – to reach any of these programs. In the meantime, here are some tips to beat the heat in the coming sweltering days of summer (taken from the Baltimore City Health Department website):

  • Join other folks at a designated cooling center in Baltimore City or County. Click here to see the lists: www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/resources/heat.html  or  http://baltimorehealth.org/coderedinfo.html
  • Drink plenty of water or juice -Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Wipe skin with cool water as needed -Reduce outside activities
  • Wear light-weight and light-colored clothing
  • Stay inside during the hottest time of day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
  • Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations
  • Check on older, sick or frail people in your community who may need help responding to the heat


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Seven Ways to Make a Difference Volunteering for Seniors

NNC blog

by Shelley Weinreb
CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.)

It’s a great mitzvah (good deed) to do a kindness for another person. Our sages tell us that each act of kindness is counted and recalled on the ‘Day of Judgment.’ There’s even a tradition that says that every mitzvah we do creates its own angel that testifies on our behalf. Here in this world, we can testify to the wonderful lift we experience when we help another person. In fact, there’s perhaps no better cure for the blues than the warm feeling of making a positive difference in someone’s life.

Here in northwest Baltimore, we are blessed to have a new organization that gives volunteers many opportunities to make a noticeable difference in seniors’ lives: Northwest Neighbors Connecting (NNC).

Developed with the help of local seniors, THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.), NNC brings neighbors together by connecting older adults with volunteers to create a growing, responsive “village” or network of support. Volunteers give their time to help in a variety of life-enhancing ways. Here are seven of the most popular:

1. Be the “wheels” they no longer have
If you’ve ever had to insist that a senior stop driving, you know how difficult it can be. Not being able to go anywhere you want, whenever you want, feels like a prison sentence to many who fear the loss of their independence. By driving a senior to the doctor, store, library, etc., you help restore their sense of independence and empowerment. You, in turn, can make new friends, hear new stories and learn about the area where you live, just by giving someone a ride.

2. Check in with a visit or phone call
In August of 2003, a “holocaust of the elderly” occurred in France when over 10,000 seniors died in the worst heat wave on record. Many of them lived alone and perished from the heat simply because no one looked in on them. This is an extreme example of the importance of this simple, kind mitzvah that can brighten someone’s life or save it. Through NNC, you can volunteer to be a friendly caller and keep tabs on your neighbor.

3. Take a senior shopping
Whether it’s a trip to the supermarket or the mall, taking an older adult shopping is a wonderful mitzvah that promotes independence and helps them feel functional and “normal.” It also takes them out of their home, where they spend almost all their time. Taking a senior shopping is a wonderful experience for your kids as well.

4. Do light chores
Assisting with simple chores around the house is greatly appreciated, from changing a light bulb to taking out the trash.

5. Help with computers or cellphones
You don’t need to be a super techie to help a senior make sense of today’s phones and computers. If you’re patient and can explain the basics in simple, step-by-step language, you can bring a senior into the 21st century. Activities like setting up a Facebook account, programming numbers into a phone and helping a senior email her grandchildren open up a whole new world for an older adult.

6. Join a Northwest Neighbors Connecting committee
Volunteering for an NNC committee is a great way to get to know the organization and its family of members. NNC needs volunteers for its Advocacy Committee, Caring Committee, Service Coordination Committee, Outreach Committee, Finance Committee and more.

7. Become a friend
When a person volunteers, their focus is on giving, not receiving. But the truth is that giving always comes with a hidden gift. And at NNC, that gift is the relationships formed. More than the typical organization, NNC is a community of members and volunteers who are there for each other as friends…connecting and caring.

To learn more about joining or volunteering for NNC, call Risyl Edelman at 410-500-5319 or email nncbaltimore@gmail.com.

For a first-hand look, come to one of NNC’s June events:
• June 6, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Retirement Chat, 3721 Glen Avenue
• June 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Emergency Preparedness Information Session, Myerberg Senior Center, 3101 Fallstaff Road
• June 25, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. – NNC General Meeting Weinberg Park, 5833 Park Heights Avenue
• June 30, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. – White Elephant Sale, Myerberg Senior Center, 3101 Fallstaff Road

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Filed under Families, Seniors, Volunteering & Advocacy, Women

New Models To Help Seniors Age In Their Communities

NNC storytelling 12-11-12 013By Lane Levine
Community Network Director
CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc.

On July 3 of last year, 30 neighborhood residents, many of them seniors, piled into Risyl Edelman’s home on Glen Avenue. Although they came for 30 different reasons – some to make a safer community for themselves and their neighbors, others to get things back to how they used to be and still others to get a ride to the doctor once in a while – they all had one overriding goal in common.

These residents were here to plan an innovative initiative for their community. Northwest Neighbors Connecting would support seniors hoping to remain and age in their community.

They began by writing this mission statement:

“Northwest Neighbors Connecting is a support system comprised of individuals offering and seeking support in the Northern Park Heights community. We engage each other, professionals, volunteers and community organizations, to provide a “round-the clock” network to assist us and our neighbors with social interaction, transportation, household upkeep, and day-to-day activity. We envision an interdependent community in which all residents are safe, secure and connected.”

Northwest Neighbors Connecting (NNC) has grown – in numbers, in acts of support between members, in sophistication, in breadth – to an organization ready to go. By its launch in March, Northwest Neighbors Connecting plans to have 100 members signed up, who are driving each other to appointments, teaching each other skills, holding social events, making friendly check-in calls, preparing for emergencies together and much more. NNC wants to be the force in Northern Park Heights that transforms the way we care for one another.

NNC is the first of what will be a series of organizations in Northwest Baltimore fashioned after the Village Model – a mutual support system intended to support seniors to age well in their community. The idea of the Village is that people have access to support from their neighbors in accomplishing the tasks that get a little harder, and that become a little more of a barrier, as the years go by.

With Villages popping up all over the country, we are seeing seniors able to remain in their communities and no longer feel pressured by life’s difficulties to move to assisted living or nursing homes. In the coming years, we expect NNC to flourish and other Village-style organizations to start, ultimately forming the Supportive Community Network.

How did we get here? NNC, and the overarching Supportive Community Network, got their start when THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore decided that the agencies that have been serving our growing number of seniors can only reach a portion of the people who actually need support.

And, a lot of the support people need is the kind that only their neighbors can give them – little favors here and there, rides to appointments and some social connection.

After a year of research and work involving various stakeholders, THE ASSOCIATED decided to try out the Village model, and provide support to the community so they could organize and meet their own needs. They looked to CHAI, your local community development organization, as the organization to initiate the work.

NNC began organizing out of CHAI back in March, with humble conversations on a one-to-one basis. We talked to our neighbors and spoke with people we knew had something to offer and something to gain. From each person’s perspective, each person’s suggestions, we began to form a structure that reflected the needs of this neighborhood. We built slowly — hosting meetings in people’s kitchens and dining rooms, small information sessions in apartment buildings, brainstorming sessions during a walk around the block – however we could get together, we did.

Now, NNC has about 80 active members and eight committees – all vibrant with the work of figuring out how to care for each other. Our Service Coordination committee is figuring out a system to provide seniors with volunteer drivers to the doctor, hair appointment or grocery store; our Advocacy committee is developing ways to support our members in dealing with difficult retailers, landlords or public agencies in their lives. Our Outreach committee is reaching out to synagogues, condominium boards and libraries – and hosting diversity dialogues to make our internal community better able to treat each other with respect. The list goes way, way on.

Our Social Events committee has been especially busy. They hosted an Emergency Preparedness training in January.

Call to be a part of NNC – as a volunteer, as a member – 410-662-6620 or email us at nncbaltimore@gmail.com – get connected!

On January 27th, come on by the Myerberg Center from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. for a White Elephant Sale – you never know what you’ll find! And then on February 27th, we will have a Wine, Cheese and Art party at the Elmont Condominiums – 6317 Park Heights Avenue. Join the fun!

Join us for our official Launch Party on Sunday, March 10, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Pikesville Senior Center. There will be something for everyone.

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