Last winter, Dorothy made it a habit to bundle up in several layers inside her north Spokane home.

“I’d wear a jacket and several layers of clothes,” she said. “It was cold in here.”

Dorothy moved into the small, craftsman home 45 years ago. It was built in 1909. Dorothy’s son, Jack, his wife and the couple’s daughter also live here. Jack copes with a disability. Dorothy moved to Spokane in 1960 from Minnesota with her husband John, a Merchant Marine. They had four children together.

“He liked the fact that there was so much to do outdoors here,” Dorothy recalls.

Now 91, Dorothy is still mentally spry and physically adroit. She goes on regular walks and watches what she eats. Although her husband has passed, she is surrounded by supportive family that includes 13 grandkids and three great-grandkids.

The chilly conditions in Dorothy’s home during previous winters could be traced to a pair of primary culprits – an ancient furnace and inadequate insulation.

“There was no heat at all upstairs,” Dorothy said. “The heat we did have was uneven. The old furnace didn’t do a very good job. It was always cold.”

Dorothy was aware of SNAP through the office the agency keeps at the Northeast Community Center near her home. She made an inquiry about home repair and weatherization that resulted in SNAP Energy Efficiency Educator Linda Riddle dropping by last April to conduct an assessment at her home.

Riddle surveys houses to see if they are structurally sound and accessible for potential improvements. Dorothy’s home passed the test. Riddle also talked to her about energy conservation approaches.

“All the SNAP people who have been out here have been very pleasant,” Dorothy said.

When Dorothy was informed that she qualified for a new gas furnace at no cost to her, she was thrilled.

“They told me I was going to get a new furnace and I just said, ‘Wow!’” Dorothy recalls.

SNAP Energy Auditor Aleks Kazatskiy was next on the scene, visiting Dorothy’s home last May to determine what weatherization work should be done. By the time the project was completed in August, layers of insulation had been added along with ductwork, a new furnace and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

This winter has been a much cozier one at Dorothy’s place. The energy efficient upgrades have also made a difference in lowering her power bills. The project was one of 246 homes SNAP weatherized in 2018. The agency also completed 746 home repairs last year.

“My mom is a big fan of SNAP,” said Dorothy’s son Jack who stopped by the agency’s resource table during an Avista Energy Fair at the Spokane County Fairgrounds last fall to thank employees for the support of his mother and the family.

For Dorothy, the changes have meant continuing to live independently in a home that is safe, warm and secure.

“SNAP has helped me a lot in my old age,” she said. “It is one of the most helpful organizations I know of. They’ve been there for me and for that, I’m thankful. To me, that’s what community is for.”