Herald Staff Writer
Barberton Community Development Services (CDS) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy and FirstEnergy for the Community Connections Program. This grant will help serve over 50 households, allowing for the replacement of outdated appliances and lights.
Executive Director Charles Drubel made the announcement in a Facebook post stating, “This is a huge win for low-moderate income households in our community and helps supplement the services we provide through private charitable giving.” Over the last two years, CDS has serviced over 700 homes by replacing approximately 15,000 light bulbs and 1,000 outdated appliances. They have spent over $300,000 at local businesses such as Daly’s Appliance, $100,000 in home repair loans, $250,000 in real estate rehabilitation and $10,0000 in flood relief funds.
CDS also has a revolving loan fund through the Barberton Community Foundation. Drubel stated, “We fix people’s furnaces or roofs and they actually pay it back. Those are gap funds for people who do not qualify with a bank but still own their home.” Drubel has also hosted a “paint your heart out” program which is all donation based and volunteers help paint houses. There is a house on Fourth Street CDS is working on and has spent about $65,000 making improvements with the goal to put it on the market in the spring. “We looked at the average home prices across Barberton and found that Ward 4 needed to be our target zone for rehabilitation because it has a high renter population and low property value,” Drubel said.
CDS is able to work with limited budgets and time frames with their “neighbors helping neighbors” mindset. To be considered for the program, applicants must fall within the income guidelines and be a FirstEnergy customer but can be either a homeowner or renter. Applications can be picked up at the CDS office, 505 W Park Ave., or an application can be mailed upon request.