Local Family Thankful for SNAP Warming Trend

Another harsh Spokane winter had settled in and Brandi and her two sons were doing the best they could to ward off the cold.

The biggest challenge had to do with a furnace that simply wasn’t generating enough heat. Instead of a comfortable living space, Brandi and her kids felt like they were residing in an icebox.

“I knew something was wrong because the furnace just kept kicking on and off and the house wasn’t getting warm,” Brandi recalls.

The family tried to fight off the cold with space heaters while partitioning certain areas of the drafty dwelling with sheets in order to channel the minimal warmth into rooms that were more utilized. The redecorating efforts were not popular with everyone in the home.

“The kids were ashamed,” Brandi said. “They didn’t want to have friends over or even open the door.”

Having connected with SNAP for energy assistance, Brandi was familiar with the agency and its mission of rallying to help those in need. She made a call and was routed to the Weatherization program. A visit by a SNAP crew found that Brandi’s furnace had more serious problems than just shutting on and off.

“They found it had a gas leak and shut it down,” she said.

Before long, a new furnace was installed along with carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Insulation was added in the attic and walls, dramatically increasing the energy efficiency in the home.

“It all made such a difference,” Brandi said. “My energy bill went down by a couple hundred dollars a month. I was able to provide more for my kids. Plus, we’d been sick a lot and what they did to the home made a difference with our health.”

SNAP also made sure the home had a new thermostat which meant Brandi could now monitor the temperature and make appropriate adjustments.

“Just to have the efficiency of a working thermostat was great,” she said.
Brandi made it a point to ask the crews questions which led to her making basic energy efficiency improvements in her most next home.

“It’s mostly just looking for air gaps,” she said.

Last year, SNAP weatherized 246 homes in Spokane County while providing energy assistance to nearly 12,000 households. Brandi said she is grateful that SNAP was there when she and her family needed reinforcement.

“It’s a lonely world when you don’t have that support,” she said. “I definitely felt like SNAP cared. It was incredible. I also felt good knowing I left that house better for the next person.”