December 9, 2013

Green Gifts, Part 2

If you are struggling with what to get someone for a holiday gift, whether you don’t know them very well, you want to be out of the box, or you need an extra stocking stuffer, it can be frustrating! Luckily, we’ve put together a two-part blog on some great green and energy-saving gifts! Last week, we posted part one of our series here. Read on for part two below!

December 2, 2013

Green Gifts, Part 1

                If you are struggling with what to get someone for a holiday gift, whether you don’t know them very well, you want to be out of the box, or you need an extra stocking stuffer, it can be frustrating! Luckily, we’ve put together a two-part blog on some great green,  energy-saving, and helpful gifts! Part one is this week and part two will be up next week!

November 4, 2013

Storm Safety

            Though Severe Storm Preparedness week is in March, this seems like a more appropriate time to talk about storm prep. A little over a year ago, the East Coast was (and still is) dealing with the fall out of Hurricane Sandy.

October 28, 2013

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

            It’s that time of year once again when the leaves have all fallen and they make a satisfying crunch when taking a cool, breezy late afternoon walk. Now that it is the end of October, the fun, kid-friendly holiday of Halloween is upon us! A big concern of parents around this time of year (after making sure the child’s costume allows for the possibility of a snowsuit underneath) is making sure that kids stay safe while trick-or-treating. I would say safe AND healthy, but we all know Halloween is not about health with all the candy! Read on for tips on how to keep people safe this spooky day!

October 21, 2013

Halloween Decorating Safety Tips

            Next week we will be tackling safe trick-or-treating tips if you’re going out and about, but what about safe tips if you’re expecting little ghoulies ringing your doorbell for treats? Read ahead to make sure your house is safe and fun for everyone to come to (even if that means no extra candy for you)!

October 14, 2013

Weatherization Services Available

For several years, NHS of South Buffalo has been hard at work weatherizing thousands of homes in the Buffalo area. In the last couple of years, we’ve been one of the most productive agencies in the country in doing so. So with that in mind, we want to keep making the homes of our service area safe, warm and energy efficient!

October 7, 2013

National Toilet Tank Repair Month

            October is National Toilet Tank Repair Month! They make a holiday for anything these days… You may be able to fix your own tank but for those of you who can’t, read on ahead!

September 30, 2013

Green Consumer Day

            Green Consumer Day is on September 28th every year. You might be asking yourself, what does that mean? It is a day intended to build awareness around how even the smallest actions we take as individuals can help—or harm—the planet. Read on to find out some small ways you can help the planet!

September 23, 2013

Fall Leaf Walk and Crafts

            This past weekend marked the official beginning of fall! The air is crisper, pumpkin spice everything is out, and the leaves are falling! The last week of September is designated as Keep Kids Creative Week, so what are some family activities that can be done with leaves?

September 9, 2013

Fall Gardening

Last week, this blog talked about Fall cleaning your home. This week, it’s all about Fall cleaning your yard and garden! Last fall, we talked a little bit about yard prep to help give you the best yard possible for spring, so check that post out for even more tips!

September 2, 2013

Fall Cleaning and Organizing

            In the spring, everyone is always focused on what cleaning they can do to freshen up their homes after the long, shut in winter. What we might forget to do is clean everything BEFORE we close up the house for winter. Oh sure, we’ll put our summer clothes away in a plastic tub or space bag and get our coats and winter things out. What about the rest of the house?

August 26, 2013

Natural Remedies for Summer Ailments

            Inspired by last week’s post about natural insect repellents, I thought we could talk about some other homemade and natural remedies and products. We are exposed to enough chemicals in life that sometimes it’s nice to just use a couple things from nature to change your situation!

August 19, 2013

Natural Pest Deterrents

            Last August and September, we posted a couple blogs about summertime insects and household pests. These blogs mainly dealt with ways to prevent them from coming in your home, but this blog is going to deal with some natural remedies if these insects get into your home! Read on for tips and you’ll see a lot of common themes so combine your remedies for your best insect-free home!

August 12, 2013

Help for First Time Homebuyers

            If you are a first time homebuyer, there are several services available that can help you out. At NHS of South Buffalo, we have plenty of homebuyer education options that satisfy banks’ requirements for education. We also are a sponsoring organization of First Home Club and have our own Closing Cost Assistance Loan (available  only for South District buyers). Read on for more information about our amazing programs!

August 5, 2013

National Night Out

 The first Tuesday in August is known as National Night Out. The night is the largest crime prevention event in the country and is coordinated by the National Association of Town Watch.

July 29, 2013

Goodbye, Megan!

                As of Friday, July 26th, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo has said goodbye to its VISTA for 2012-13, Megan McLaughlin. Though we are not getting a new VISTA member for the upcoming year, the work of our previous VISTAs will not be forgotten. They have set us up with a great social media and website program that will live on.
                Megan’s prime responsibilities in our office this year were maintaining and updating our website, running our Facebook, writing our blog, writing press releases, and assisting with other administrative tasks. Her efforts will continue to be seen through our blog, where she continued to write for future posts.

                Moving on from our organization, we wish her all the best and hope she doesn’t forget to visit us!

July 22, 2013

Neighborhood Safety

            No matter where you live, you want to be sure in the knowledge that you and your family are safe there. This can mean anything from knowing who your neighbors are, making sure you take proper precautions against crime, or being watchful and mindful of your surroundings. We have already talked about safety in the home and summer specific safety. Here are some tips some websites that can help you out!

July 15, 2013

Need more summer fun?

            It is officially the dog days of summer. With school out for another month and a half, you might be at your wit’s end trying to come up with activities to keep the youngsters occupied. Or you might want to have even more fun at your weekend barbecues and pool parties. Here are some fun activities for the backyard and around town!

July 8, 2013

Block Clubs

                At Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo, our community is important to us and we feel special to be a part of it. Are you part of your community? Have you inquired about your local block club? Don’t have one? Read on for information on how to start one! Have one? Read on about some services we provide our local block clubs!

July 1, 2013

Summer Safety Tips

                School’s out and summer is in full swing! Summer is one of the best times of the year. The kids are out of school and longer hours in the day mean the more fun you can have with your family. Here are a few safety tips to take care of your loved ones to ensure the best summer you can have.

June 24, 2013

Home Rehab Loans

We talk a lot about weatherization as a way to improve your home’s quality, but there are other options out there. Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo also offers a home rehab loan program!

June 17, 2013

Community Impact Measurement

            Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo is excited to be taking part of a national project through NeighborWorks, of which we are a charter member. We are going to be hitting the pavement in the coming weeks!

June 10, 2013

June is National Safety Month!

                June is National Safety Month! This year is the 100th Anniversary of the National Safety Council. NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. This year’s theme is “Safety Starts With Me.” Each week carries a separate theme as well!

June 3, 2013

How Energy Star Can Help You

In recent weeks, we've talked about alternate ways to get electricity in your home. But what about if wind and solar power aren't viable for your home? There are a few ways you can save money on electricity in your home.  We've talked a little bit about this on the blog before, specifically lighting and utilities in general. As always, getting your home weatherized can help reduce your energy costs! The beginning of the weatherization process starts with an energy audit. But that’s for another blog. This week, we're talking about Energy Star.

May 29, 2013

Home Matters!


With Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo’s Help,
Momentum Builds Nationally for Home Matters

May 20, 2013

Wind Power in Our Homes


Last week, we talked about using solar power in your home to either totally power or at least assist in powering your house. This week we’re going to continue talking about clean energy with another method that gets a lot of pictures taken of it – wind power! You’ve probably seen the Steel Winds project on Lake Erie, near Lackawanna. It is one of the largest urban wind developments in the world, producing enough power for about 6,000 average American homes. Read on for information about your own wind power project!

May 13, 2013

Weatherization Teams Up With Block Clubs to Green the Neighborhood


On this blog, we’ve talked quite a bit about the weatherization services that we at Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo offer. Not only does having your home weatherized lead to a lower energy cost for you, it also creates a greener and healthier environment in your home.

May 6, 2013

Using Solar Power in Your Home


                During the recent presidential election, the question was often brought up about alternative power sources. Now, more often than not, they were referring to gasoline alternatives, but we should think about different ways to get power to our homes and businesses as well. After all, what if any of the post-apocalyptic shows and movies ever came true? We would want to still be able to use our devices and appliances, I’m sure! We’re going to look at a couple different alternative sources we could use now. First up is solar power.

April 29, 2013

April is Financial Literacy and Fair Housing Month!


            Financial Literacy sounds like one of those fancy terms made up by someone wanting to sound smarter and better than others. Really though, it’s about making sure you’re financially stable and healthy. As it so happens, since 2004, the United States has recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month. If you happen to be reading this in Canada, November is their National Financial Literacy Month.

April 22, 2013

Recycling!


Most people think of April as a very environmentally conscious month. And it is. It’s National Clean Energy Month, Earth Day is April 22, TV Turn Off Week, National Parks Week, etc. There are many events and dates that are all focused at us making a better planet to live on. We’ve talked about gardening and composting this month, and to build off composting that reduces the amount of garbage we throw out, we’ll talk about what to recycle to reduce it even more.

April 15, 2013

New Workshop Series Focuses on Seasonal Topics


Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo is excited about the new learning opportunity they will be offering in 2013 – SEASONAL WORKSHOPS! The non-profit has always been dedicated to serving their community in any way they can, coming up with new avenues to address constituents’ areas of interest.

April 8, 2013

What's composting and why should we do it?


Last week, we spoke about gardening in small spaces or in a city. This week, we’re going to expand a little and talk about composting. You might be thinking, “Why are we talking about compost? There is no way I can do that.” Well, I invite you to think about the environment you are leaving to future generations and read on to see if you can do it! Keep in mind that New York City has had a composting project since 1993 and in San Francisco, composting is mandatory! Check your neighborhood to see if there is a community composting bin nearby  or even start one! You can also check to see if any nurseries in the area have one.
            In 2010, Americans produced 250 million tons of trash. Gross, right? The sad part is, about half of that stuff is compostable. This means we could let it go back into the environment naturally instead of sending it to the trash dumps. The other half (the non-compostables) also include recyclables, which we will get to later this month.
            So what’s compostable and what’s not? Well, here are some things that you can put in your compost pile and feel good about: fruits and veggies, shredded paper or cardboard, coffee grounds and filters/teabags, dead leaves, wood chips/bark/mulch/old top soil, egg shells (rinsed), grains, cereals,  grass clippings, hay or straw, cow or horse manure (probably not in the city!), fireplace ashes, dryer lint, hair, houseplants, pet fur, cotton rags, vacuum residuals, wool rags, pine needles, sawdust, shredded newspaper, and nut shells. Things that are NOT compostable are: pet waste/cat litter, meats/bones, dairy products, fats/oils/grease/lards, anything treated with pesticides, coal and charcoal.
            Now that you know what you can and can’t put in your pile, here’s how to go about making one. In your compost bin, line the bottom with four to eight inches of coarse brown materials. This can be as simple as a garbage can, but make sure you drill holes for aeration so the compost doesn’t turn. Keep the compost moist. Mix or aerate the compost two to three times each week. You can also use what is referred to as a worm bin, meaning that yes, you are bringing up worms, but it is space efficient and can (from one person) produce up to 30 pounds of compost in four months. If you’re thinking to yourself that you have no place to use the compost that you produce, look at the plants out front! Many plants are mistreated due to the elements, pets using them as toilets, etc. and could use the nutrient-rich compost to come back to vibrant life.

Helpful Links
-          There’s a lot of great information here, so please click around!
-          A neat blog post about one mom’s experience composting in an apartment
-          Great tips, including how to keep it from smelling

April 1, 2013

Big City, Little Garden


                Living in a city, you may think that gardening is not a do-able activity outside of a couple annuals planted around  your steps. Actually, there are whole books, blogs, websites, etc. dedicated to gardening in small places and big cities. We’re going to focus on food-related gardening in this blog, but if you come to our Spring workshop on April 20th, we will be discussing more gardening!

March 25, 2013

Master of the Lawn


                Originally, the intention of this post was to be solely about lawn and yard tips for spring. But it dawned on me that there are a few other Spring exterior projects that we could toss into this category. Spring will come eventually (right?), so we need to put our best yard’s face forward!

March 18, 2013

Spring Cleaning Madness


Wednesday marks the official (calendar) beginning of spring. If you’re looking at Buffalo’s weather forecast, you may be skeptical about that statement. But soon enough, March that came in like a lion should go out like a lamb. With spring, many people find this an excellent time to clean and organize their home and yard. This week, we’re tackling the indoors, while next week, we’ll let you know what to do to make your yard get a good jump on a beautiful summer lawn.

March 11, 2013

Death and Taxes Can Always Be Counted On


                There’s a little over a month left until the income tax filing deadline. If you’re like me and on a budget, you might be putting this off as long as possible so you can save money; not just because you may have to pay additional tax,  but also because of the skyrocketing cost of tax preparation. Luckily for all of us, there have been some wonderful organizations and companies who have joined together to offer free tax filing services! We’ll take a look at different free services and tips and tricks for filing your taxes and getting the best refund you can!

March 4, 2013

Foreclosure Doesn't Need to Be Scary


                As anyone who has watched the news or picked up a newspaper in the last half decade can tell you, foreclosure is a major problem facing homeowners in this country currently. Foreclosure is a specific legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.

February 25, 2013

Frozen Pipes? Fix it now!


            Living in a cold climate during winter can lead to several problems with homes. Roofs can start leaking from snow and ice, windows and doors that are poorly insulated let in drafts and water pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands. If it expands enough inside of a pipe, it can burst the pipe and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to a home. So how can we prevent this? Or, how do we thaw the pipe once it’s frozen to avoid bursting? Read on for some tips!

February 18, 2013

Commercial Facade Loans Program


                Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo does not only provide services to homeowners, rental apartments and counseling clients; we also have a great Commercial Fa├žade Loan Program! Read on for more information about this great opportunity for our business community in South Buffalo!

February 11, 2013

The Silent Poison in Our Homes


                There are many things that can enter our home and hurt us without warning, but sometimes this doesn't need to be the case. Just like when it comes to smoke detectors for fires, there are carbon monoxide detectors for that. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.

February 4, 2013

Renter's Insurance FAQ


                Last week, I tried to explain some things about homeowner’s insurance and point you to some sources that might explain more than I could. This week, we’re tackling renter’s insurance! According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rental property is 79% more likely to be burglarized than an owner-occupied property. It has a lot in common with homeowner’s insurance, but there are a few differences so pay attention if you rent!

January 28, 2013

What's Homeowner's Insurance Got to Do With it?


                New homeowners can be surprised with lots of different expenses that they don’t really think of when dreaming of their first home. One of these expenses can be homeowner’s insurance. What it is, what it covers, and how much it costs can vary wildly. You can legally own a home without having insurance on it, however if you use a mortgage to purchase your home, most lenders require insurance. I will try and answer some of the big questions and guide you to people who will know more than me!

January 21, 2013

Homebuyer Education for Everyone!


We are proud to now offer homebuyer education! We offer several different options to fit your schedule and educational needs. There are three basic types: Homebuyer Clubs, Homebuyer Education (eight-hour) courses, and Fast Track Education (four-hour) classes. The pricing for each of the three class types is the same. It is $60 per person per course and $75 per couple per course. Additionally, we are currently offering a $10 off coupon! You must be pre-registered for all Homebuyer Education courses. Keep reading for descriptions on each of the three types and the schedules for each!

January 14, 2013

HEAP How To


It seems that this winter season will be a true Western New York winter, complete with snow, winds, and bitterly cold temperatures. If you are struggling to stay up to date with your heating bills and you are worried there is a chance that you will be shut off, I encourage you to learn more about HEAP – Home Energy Assistance Program.

January 7, 2013

January is National Radon Action Month


            January is National Radon Action Month. What does this mean? Well, it means that the EPA wants to get the word out about radon in the home and the health issues it can cause.