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A New Meaning to "Home Sweet Home"

November 21, 2019

Winter seems to have hit Iowa early this year and for many, the effects of winter extend beyond the inclement weather outside, particularly for the elderly and people with disabilities. “If you've got leaky, drafty windows, it affects them,” said Julie Meyers, Property Manager with Hertz Farm Management which manages Sumner Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing to Sumner and local area residents age 62 years or older as well as adults with disabilities. “They're sitting in their apartments and they feel that cold air and they're on medication sometimes and their circulation isn't the best,” Meyers continued.

Meyers is referring to the 30-year-old windows in the Sumner Housing apartments that have been in dire need of replacement. Sumner Housing has seven apartment buildings that many call home and most, if not all, are on a fixed income. In addition to paying rent, residents are responsible for paying for their own electricity and heat. The old, drafty windows were putting a strain on residents’ utility bills.

The process of replacing the apartment complex windows began in 2016 when Meyers submitted a grant application on behalf of Sumner Housing and received a $3,000 grant from the Bremer County Community Foundation. The following year another grant was awarded to replace more windows and in spring of 2019 an additional grant was awarded to Sumner Housing, bringing the total to $9,000. The most recent funding completed the energy-efficient window updates for all apartments within the complex.

“We just want to make it comfortable for them,” Meyers said of the residents. “It also helps the families know that their loved ones are nice and safe and warm in their apartments and, you know, the word spreads that these are good places for tenants to live and it keeps them near their families. And that's a big thing about these small projects like this.”

While the project may seem small, it’s made all the difference for many elderly and people with disabilities in Bremer County. The Bremer County Community Foundation’s local governing committee works to meet the county’s needs by connecting charitable, community-minded people to the causes they care about through grantmaking that supports projects which strengthen communities.

When asked about the impact of the project grants from the Bremer County Community Foundation, Meyers replied, “Oh, a great impact. It is a wonderful committee to have and funding for these type of projects for these communities. Without it we couldn't have got this done.”