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Partners Sought for Maine Hearth Project

April 16th, 2009

AUGUSTA -- Maine HEARTH is an initiative of the Maine Commission for Community Service. Funded by a small grant from the Hands On Network and augmented by nearly 16 AmeriCorps*VISTA positions, Maine HEARTH aims to connect the many generous responses communities have developed to support those trying to stay safe and warm at home.

Each winter many Maine residents face a home heating and energy crisis. As one of the nation’s coldest states, we also have some of the oldest, sub-standard housing stock in the country.  This makes heating difficult, inefficient, and costly. 

Families with limited incomes are faced with impossible choices between food costs, heat, medical care, and transportation to work. Some winters the home energy crisis of families is due to the price of heating fuel; sometimes it is (and will be) due to reduced income or job loss. 

The Maine Commission for Community Service believes that by connecting all responses to these challenges in a particular region, the ability to help our neighbors is strengthened. It seeks organizations that share this belief to be Maine HEARTH partners in each county.

Partner work entails convening a regional or countywide council of organizations, businesses, faith communities, nonprofit, and municipal agencies that have launched programs to support residents’ ability to stay safe and warm in their homes. Councils will foster coordination and replication of successful approaches, identify gaps in responses to local needs, connect volunteers with opportunities to support local responses, and identify emerging needs at the local level. 

 Maine HEARTH partners will need broad-based connections in their county or region, understand the multiple ways home energy impacts families, be able to foster idea sharing and cooperation between those responding locally, and be sufficiently organized to insure high quality communication among all those engaged in creating the council.

 Each of the 16 partners will be supported in creating the councils by up to $3,000 for reimbursable expenses and an AmeriCorps*VISTA member. In order to ensure adequate supervision and direction for the VISTA, partner organizations must have at least one employee and an office. Faith-based organizations, non-profit service providers, units of government, and educational institutions are welcome to apply.

Interested organizations may view the scope of work and application at MaineServiceCommission.gov.   Deadline for submission of applications is 5:00 p.m. on May 8, 2009.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine\'s volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing managers of volunteers, raising awareness of the scope and impact of the sector, and encouraging an ethic of service. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at www.maineservicecommission.gov.