McAuliffe visits transitional veteran housing in Va. Beach

WAVY/Marielena Balouris

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe was in Virginia Beach on Thursday to support a program working to improve the lives of homeless veterans.

McAuliffe’s office says volunteers with Dominion Virginia Power and energy experts are working to weatherize transitional housing for homeless veterans. This work includes weather-stripping doors, wrapping hot water heaters and installing energy-saving shower heads. The partnership also addresses drainage issues and performs landscaping at housing.

Thursday’s event was part of a one-year anniversary celebration of the EnergyShare program. The goal of the EnergyShare program is to use energy efficiency to cut utility bills, helping veterans and other disabled people stay in their homes.

“It means a lot to me for Dominion Power to come out and perform their services, which helps me save money on our utility bills,” said Willard Smith, who is the executive director of Vetshouse Incorporated.

Smith runs the transitional home that the volunteers weatherized.

For some of the volunteers at the home, this project was personal. Matthew Adams, who works for Virginia Dominion Power, said, “I fully appreciate what Dominion is doing for our veterans. Reaching out, providing assistance for those in need, and helping them better manage their bills through weatherizing their home.”

Dominion last fall said it would put $57 million through 2019 toward long-term energy efficiency improvements for customers including military veterans and people with disabilities.

McAuliffe met with Dominion volunteers, energy officials and people from Vetshouse in Virginia Beach.  He says the EnergyShare program has helped more than 12,000 people across the state, including 1,000 veterans.

“I love it. I’m glad to see all these volunteers come out and help us with this project,” said Smith.

McAuliffe emphasized the importance of weatherizing homes, saying, “There is no question sea level rise is occurring and we’re the second most vulnerable in the United States of America. New Orleans is one, Hampton Roads is two. Everybody should be concerned.”

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