Monday, December 17, 2012

With Heartfelt Thanks

We are enormously grateful to the countless neighborhood residents, government officials and individual and corporate donors who so generously gave of their time and resources this past year. 2012 marked our 44th year of facilitating community development in Troy and Rensselaer County. As in every prior year the credit truly goes to the community. We are impressed and humbled by the trust you have put in us and we look forward to working with each of you in a busy and impactful 2013. Our best to you and your families.

Thanks to our 2012 Donors!

Wallace and Jane Altes, Eric Anderson and Caroline Lee, Anonymous, William Aram, Bank of America, Judith A. Barnes, Diane Bell, Berkshire Bank, Jeanne Bodin, Joseph Boland, Alice Boos, Chris Burke, Capital Bank, Nancy Carroll, Choice Heating and Cooling, Gerald and Marjorie Christiano, Joyce and John Chupka, Citizens Bank, CKYoung, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, Jim and Phyllis Conroy, Andrea Daley, Michael and Rebecca Danforth, DeFazio Imports, Garrett and Shellie Degraff, Geri deSeve, Robert Doherty, Jane Ducatt, Doug Dylla, Lorraine and Jeff English, Carl Erickson, Michael Esposito, Joe and Barbara Fama, First Niagara Bank, First United Presbyterian Church, Joseph and Claudia Fleming, John and Ella Gallagher, Bob Gamble, Marie Gavazzi, Honorable Peter Grimm, David and Katie Haviland, Barbara and Gary Higbee, Hilton Garden Inn Troy & Rensselaer Banquet and Conference Facility, Bill Hope, Hudson Valley Community College Foundation, Rev. David and Mozella Irving, Island View Associates, Honorable Kathy Jimino, E. Stewart Jones Jr., Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Marcia & John Keefe, Key Foundation, Lynn Kopka, Hilary Lamishaw, Bernice Ledeboer, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY, Leo's Overhead Door, Lomonaco & Pitts Architects, Bob and Janet MacLasco, John Madden Jr., Patrick Madden, Joseph Mangione, Martin Law Firm, Morris and Esther Massry, Kim Mazor, Honorable John McDonald III, Honorable Steve McLoughlin, Thomas McGuire, Honorable Ellen McNulty, Honorable Mike McNulty, Heinrich Medicus, Fredda Merzon, Paul Miyomoto, R. Mihran and Ovsanna Mooradian, M&T Bank, Steve and Mary Muller, NE Health Foundation, Christine Nealon, Barb Nelson, Nigro Companies, Kevin and Pat O'Bryan, Tim O'Byrne, Omni Housing Development LLC, Chet and Karen Opalka, O'Rourke Home Remodeling, Jane Otto, John Pattision, Mark Pattison, Gary Pavlic, Pfeil Hardware, Pioneer Bank, Sandra Reizen, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,  Paul and Barbara Richer, Honorable Lou Rosamilia, Dominic Rotondi, Michael Rynasko and Sue Troll, Dr. Susan Scrimshaw, SEFCU, Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball Shaw, Patricia Shevy, Ericka Small, Stewarts Shops, Dr. Mary Theresa Streck, Sunmark FCU, Honorable Paul Tonko, Turner Construction Company, Mary Urban, Tina Urzan, Frank Visco, Betsy Voss, and Wojeski and Co.

TRIP depends upon charitable contributions to support its work in community revitalization, affordable housing, and resident leadership development. Thank you for your role in revitalizing Troy and its neighborhoods. TRIP is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Please make checks payable to:
Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, Inc. or TRIP 
Mail to:
415 River Street
Troy, NY  12180

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Green Organization Desigination Award

Tuesday, at an awards ceremony in DC, I had the privilege of accepting TRIP’s Green Organization Designation Award from NeighborWorks America.  We are one of just 16 groups nationwide chosen to receive this designation.

I was both proud and humbled to be able to accept this award for TRIP.  Proud because we are again at the lead of an important national initiative and humbled because the credit for getting us to this point lies entirely with our Green Team.  This effort was not based on a directive from me or the Board.  Rather, it arose from the interest and passions of the staff.  It was the work of a core group of staff members who formed the Green Team, embraced the initiative, set and met deadlines, and successfully made application for this designation - and in the process increased our green awareness and changed the way we do business.  This is not my observation alone.  A number of people from NWA in DC who have a hand in this sought me out yesterday to tell me how wonderful it was to work with our team.

So congratulations Green Team.  Job exceedingly well done.

Patrick Madden
Executive Director
Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program

Please click here to learn more about NWA's Green Organization Program:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Faces at TRIP

Danielle Wattsman

If you have called the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center in the last five years, chances are good that you’ve talked with Danielle Wattsman.  As our Programs Administrator, Danielle manages our homeownership program offerings and grants.  She also gets to use her information systems skills as TRIP’s primary web administrator. 

When she’s not at TRIP’s HOC, Danielle enjoys spending time with her family and playing softball.  Her time on the field is spent as a member of the Troy Co-Ed Softball League.

In the coming year, Danielle hopes to further incorporate technology into daily activities at TRIP & RCHR and promote our need for continued rehab funding.  Quality programming is the corner-stone of the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center and the more we spread the word about our services, the greater impact TRIP & RCHR can have.

TRIP and Friends Celebrate Honorees

A great evening was enjoyed on December 3rd at TRIP & RCHR’s Annual Homecoming Dinner to recognize the achievements of – and thank -- two remarkable men.  The Honorable Ron Canestrari, who is retiring from the NYS Assembly, received the TRIP & RCHR 2012 Community Citizenship Award.  His decades of leadership and support of the Capital Region, first as Mayor of Cohoes and then as state assemblymember and Majority Leader, makes him so deserving of this award.  While we will miss him in the Capitol, we wish him a wonderful and well-earned retirement! 

Long-time Troy resident Mike Esposito received TRIP’s “Troy Treasure” award for his many years of volunteering as local historian for Troy and as an active leader of Little Italy’s events and activities.  He also is greatly appreciated for being the most prolific author of TRIP’s “Troy Treasure” columns published in The Record bi-monthly.  Mike is truly a Troy treasure. 

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Green Island Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan, who demonstrated a comedic ability that kept the audience laughing, even while she gently poked at big brother and former congressman Mike McNulty, who introduced Ron Canestrari.   It was a great evening made special by the two honorees and the many people who came out to recognize them and to support TRIP & RCHR.  

Farewell and Good Luck to TRIP VISTAs Claire Pitts and Mary Rynasko

We were so sad to say goodbye to Claire and Mary who have been stupendous VISTA volunteers at TRIP for the past year.  Their one year of service ended in November when they both moved on to other things.   Mary has moved to NYC (Queens) where she is currently interning at an arts gallery on the Lower East Side called Lu Magnus ( and looking for paid employment as well.  Claire has remained with her family in Troy temporarily and is doing retail work until she moves to Philadelphia in the near future. 

Many of you met Claire at various neighborhood meetings and community events in her role as TRIP’s community outreach worker.  She was an enthusiastic cheerleader among groups even while keeping them focused on the tasks at hand.   Mary was TRIP’s Program Support Worker where her organizational skills were welcomed and put to use streamlining systems and orchestrating progress on various projects.    They both had strong arts backgrounds and so were key in shepherding School 2’s “Paint the Boards” project with sixth graders. 
(See for terrific photos from this project).  Their graphics and social media skills will be long remembered through their artistic legacy at TRIP:  they created many of our photoboards, HomeOwnership Center palmcards, TRIP banner, revised TNAC brochure, TroyTalk editions, Facebook and website postings, and more. 

More than that, they both brought great spirits into the office every day.  We appreciate and miss their interest in and support of TRIP’s work, their ability to take on any job thrown at them and do it with good cheer, their collaboration in helping out any staff member and customer, and their fresh eyes and recommendations for improvements.  They made TRIP better every day and we will miss them for that.  We wish them well and know that these two terrific young women will go far in life. 

A New Look for 69 Middleburgh St.

Thanks to all who came to TRIP’s Open House at 69 Middleburgh on December 5th.  We were proud to  display our newly rehabbed 3-unit property at 69 Middleburgh Street in Troy.  The building was completely gutted and rebuilt through our partnership with the City of Troy, TAP and FH Alexander General Contractors.
The 19th Century row home was upgraded to the standards of the 21st century and designed to meet the needs of today’s market with larger bedrooms, new kitchens and bathrooms.  The entire property is now energy efficient with high efficient heating and water (on demand) systems.  Additionally, all the appliances and windows are ENERGY STAR products.

Formerly, the property was a source of neighborhood complaints for years.  When funding became available to rehabilitate a building, we approached the owner requesting to purchase it.  We bought it in  September 2011 and renovated the entire building to make it more appealing to today’s market.  Funding was through the federal HOME program which the City administers.  As with all of its rental properties, TRIP will pay property taxes.

All three units have been rented as of January 1st.   “I never thought I’d be able to afford to get in to a place that was made just for me,” said new tenant Mary Hill, who once lived next door and moved away due to problems at 69 Middleburgh.   The new tenants met standard income eligible requirements and will be paying $624 plus utilities for the one bedroom unit or $732 plus utilities for the two bedroom units.  The energy efficient design will minimize utility costs.

“Our goal is to create areas where people want to stay,” said TRIP Executive Director Patrick Madden.  “We want people to live here because they like it here, not because it’s the only thing they can afford.  That’s the environment we want to create, not only for our tenants but for the block as well.”

If I was born in 1989 am I an adult yet?

An AmeriCorps*VISTA reflects on her year of service.
By Mary Rynasko

Serving with AmeriCorps*VISTA was not something I knew I wanted to do until it happened.  After graduating college in May of 2011, I began my summer pretending that nothing had changed.  I knew I wasn’t going back to school, but I also wasn’t ready to openly admit that I had no idea what I was “doing with my life”.  After indulging myself with trips to Chicago and Maine, I returned home to the daunting task of résumé writing and job applications.  Anyone who has looked for a job in the past decade will tell you how frustrating it can be to spend the time writing cover letters and hearing no reply.  However, I’ve learned that if you talk to enough of your parents’ friends and friends’ parents, someone will email you a job listing that a potential employer will actually read.

After interviewing at Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP), Inc. and thinking over the big life questions, I decided that AmeriCorps*VISTA was what I wanted to do for the next year of my life. 

Friends and family would probably agree that since about seventh grade I’ve been a bit of a sofa-social-commentator.  I see the problems in the world around me, but as a white, upper-middle class, college graduate, my personal experiences have been primarily those of privilege.  Working at TRIP, and serving the Troy communities, has informed my actions more than The Daily Show ever could have. 

Additionally, my time serving with AmeriCorps*VISTA has improved my professional interaction skills dramatically.  I can no longer hide under the label of “student”; every choice I make has to be done as a professional person representing a local non-profit and also a national tradition of service.

It would be wonderful if I could leave TRIP calling my year “a success”, but really success is a false ideal.  If a person does manage to achieve a true sense of success, they stop trying.  Therefore, the best people are those who tell themselves “Okay, great job!  The project went well!  Next time do it better.”  My year spent envisioning and executing projects to inspire community building has reaffirmed that a feeling of accomplishment is better than one of success.  Departing from TRIP will be another marker in my life, just as beginning here was, but I look forward to continuing to “do good” and I hope that I will always strive to “do good” better.          

Monday, November 26, 2012

Please join TRIP at an Open House!

Celebrating the Completion of a Full Rehabilitation

69 Middleburgh St. 
Troy, NY
December 5th
1 - 3pm

You are invited to 
come and celebrate 
with us

- Tour the Building
- Meet the Neighbors
- Hear from Partners 
at 2pm

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tonight's 2012 Annual Homecoming Dinner Postponed

Due to anticipated weather conditions and our concern for your safety we are regrettably postponing this evening's Annual Homecoming Dinner.
We will be back in touch with you when it has been rescheduled.
Thank you and Stay Safe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Renter's Insurance: Protecting Your Belongings and Yourself

When you move into a new apartment you're normally thinking about how to arrange the furniture, but what if that furniture were to get damaged or stolen at no fault of your own? Would you have to pay to replace all of your belongings if there were a flood or fire? A landlord's insurance covers the bricks and mortar of an apartment, but the contents are usually the responsibility of the tenant. Consequently, renter's insurance can be a huge relief when unforeseen damage occurs.

Like all forms of insurance, coverage plans vary, and the more you are looking to insure, the more a plan costs. Talking to an insurance representative will help you determine your needs. If you have a car, it may be more cost-effective to bundle your coverages and work with the same company for your renter's insurance.

We all hope that we never have to cash in on our insurance plans, but when problems arise, we're proud of our forethought.

Job Opening at The Homeownership Center

The TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center is currently looking for an Intake Specialist/ Outreach Coordinator to join our team. This person will likely be a client's first interaction with our office. The right candidate's primary responsibility will be to effectively interview distressed clients in danger of losing their homes in a non-judgmental manner. During the interview, the Intake Specialist will need to gather the applicable information to determine a client's next steps.

This is a full-time position. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume by November 2, 2012.

For more details about the position and to submit electronic cover letters and resumes visit:
No phone calls please.

New Faces at TRIP: Chris Nobes

Working with TRIP for the Fall 2012 semester is RPI student Christopher Nobes. Chris is a fifth-year Architecture student with a minor in Sustainability and will be spending his time with us as our Sustainability and Urban Architecture Intern. Throughout the semester, Chris will have the opportunity to visit some of our rental and rehab sites while also conducting research focusing on funds and design ideas to further TRIP's environmental improvement efforts.

Outside of school, Chris enjoys playing soccer, snowboarding, and playing the drums. His love of soccer even brought him to Europe where he played as a defender on international teams in England and Portugal.

Chis hails from Belchertown, Massachusetts, and hopes to one day start his own architecture firm focusing on an integrated approach to real estate and construction. Welcome Chris, we're looking forward to a great semester!

Welcome Karisa Beardsley

This month TRIP would like to say "welcome" to our newest staff member, Karisa Beardsley. Karisa will be working with us as a bookkeeper in Accounting. We would also like to thank Cathy Carey and wish her luck at her new job.

We are glad to have you joining the team Karisa!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

RCHR Program Profile: Rensselaer County Homeownership Program (Small Cities)

Similar to the Homebuyer Incentive Program available in Troy, the Small Cities program offers prospective homebuyers in Rensselaer County grant funding to assist with down payments and closing costs. Eligible applicants do not need to currently live in Rensselear County.

Administered by the RCHR & TRIP NeighborWorks Homeownership Center, Small Cities funding is available to first-time homebuyers with an annual household income at or below 80% of the area median income (80% of the area median income for Rensselaer County is approximately $62,500 for a family of four), and can provide applicants with either $15,000 or $20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

To qualify for the Small Cities Program, applicants must complete a homebuyer education program and be looking to purchase a house anywhere in Rensselaer County (excluding Troy). Funds can be used towards down payments, closing costs, and/or to reduce the mortgage amounts to make the purchase affordable for the homebuyer.

If the benefits of this program sound like something that you or someone you know might be interested in, the first step is to attend a Homebuyer Orientation session. More information can also be found on the TRIP website:

TNAC Meeting

TNAC (Troy Neighborhoods Action Council) is a coalition of Troy-based residents, business people and others working towards creating great neighborhoods in Troy. We hope to see you at the next TNAC meeting on Tuesday, Oct 30 from 6 -7:30pm at Bethel Baptist Church at 2165 5th Avenue (between Federal and Jacob streets).

Tentative agenda:

“Business” from 6 – 7pm:
  • Neighborhood associations sharing
  • Vacant Properties Workgroup update
  • Drug Free Communities Committee update
  • Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference report
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program, Capital District Chapter
  • Goodbye and thank you to TRIP’s VISTA Volunteers Claire Pitts and Mary Rynasko
Informal Networking from 7 – 7:30pm

We look forward to seeing you on Oct 30th! Feel free to share this invitation with others.

First Annual Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference Warmly Received

On Saturday, September 22nd, urban planners, local officials, and neighborhood activists from Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Syracuse, Johnson City, Newburgh, and Bennington, as well as a contingent representing the Capital District from Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Latham, Amsterdam, and Cropseyville gathered together on Russell Sage campus to share knowledge and ideas about neighborhood revitalization. Topics covered included: green projects, vacant building rehabilitation, community policing, reclaiming public spaces, community art projects, and much more.

Alan Mallach addresses the conference attendees Saturday morning

Earlier that weekend, on Friday night, James Kunstler gave a keynote speech for the conference's kickoff. Alan Mallach delivered another keynote on Saturday morning, which served to successfully lead conference attendees into a thought-provoking and highly educational day.

The discussion started at the conference is on-going as new projects are brought up and more questions are asked. Please visit to take part! If you missed out on the sessions this year, don't worry-- another revitalization conference is already in the works for the fall of 2013!

Deeper Shades of Green: Building Sustainable Partnerships at the TRIP & RCHR Green Fair

On Saturday, September 29th TRIP & RCHR hosted our first Green Fair, and though the cold September rain kept us under tents and umbrellas, the 2012 Fair set a solid foundation for local partnerships focused on sustainability.

Exhibitors at the TRIP & RCHR Green Fair

Thank you to eLot recycling and 3N Document Destruction for generously providing free electronics recycling and personal document shredding.

TRIP & RCHR would also like to sincerely thank all of the exhibitors at our Sustainability Info Expo. Information about solar energy, saving money on energy efficiency upgrades, composting, aquaponics, household products to minimize water and energy waste, responsible consumerism, and healthy living were provided by:
  • American Chemical 
  • Arbonne International
  • Citizens Bank
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Dept. of Public Service
  • Empire Solar Store
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Pfeil's Hardware and Paint
  • Real Goods Solar
  • Rensselaer County
  • Rose Garden Domes
  • Transition Troy
  • Troy Shares
Cafe Deli-icious also attended, selling beverages and locally-made treats.

Thank you to everyone who attended; we look forward to seeing you again at future events.

Green and Sustainability Tips from TRIP

Bins from 3N Document Destruction

Learning about responsible cleaning products

The TRIP & RCHR Green Fair was organized in partnership with Rensselaer County and the City of Troy and was underwritten by Citizens Bank Foundation.

Homecoming Dinner to Celebrate TRIP & RCHR's Excellent Customer Service

The 2012 TRIP & RCHR Homecoming Dinner, happening on Monday, October 29th at 5:30pm at The Franklin Terrace Ballroom, 126 Campbell Ave., Troy, will honor NYS Assemblymember Ron Canestrari and Troy Treasure Michael Esposito.  It is also an opportunity to celebrate the high-quality services provided by TRIP & RCHR.

** Tickets are still available, visit

One part of the TRIP & RCHR mission is to promote responsible homeownership, and the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership center recently earned high quality service marks from NeighborWorks America.

NeighborWorks America scores each affiliated HomeOwnership Center across the country on a quarterly basis, and we are happy to announce that the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center received a 9 out of 10 overall score!

To determine each HomeOwnership Center's Level of Service, NeighborWorks examines the number of homebuyer education clients who successfully purchase homes and the rate at which post-purchase clients maintain homeownership and avoid foreclosure. NeighborWorks organizations consistently strive for excellence, and this score simply underlines the excellent programming available at TRIP.

TRIP's NeighborWorks Center is a one-stop shop for homebuyers and homeowners. Quality, confidential housing advice and group education programs are available to anyone regardless of income or geography on a range of topics whether you are a long-time homeowner or just starting on the path to becoming a homebuyer. Getting this information today will save you money and headaches tomorrow. TRIP HomeOwnership Center staff hear again and again "I wish I'd heard about TRIP before I bought my house!"

To learn more about the programs offered through the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center visit or call (518) 690-0020.

Information on NeighborWorks American is available at

Monday, September 10, 2012

TRIP & RCHR's Homecoming Dinner to Honor Ron Canestrari, 2012 Community Citizenship Awardee

This year's TRIP & RCHR Homecoming Dinner, to be held on October 29 at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom, is sure to be an evening to remember as we present the 2012 Community Citizenship Award to the Honorable Ron Canestrari. 

Assemblyman Canestrari has truly earned this award through his decades of public service -- first as the Mayor of Cohoes and then as a member of the New York State Assembly for eleven terms, representing this area and serving as Majority Leader for the past six years. He has been a strong advocate on a variety of  key issues for Capital Region residents, including quality higher education and economic development initiatives.  Assemblyman Canestrari will be retiring from the NYS Assembly at the end of the year to be able to devote more time for personal interests. We wish him well and will definitely miss him as an advocate for the 106th Assembly District. 

We hope you will join us in thanking New York State Assembly Majority Leader Canestrari for his dedication as a public servant and his many years of commitment, determination, and support of the Capital District.

For tickets to the Annual Homecoming Dinner call Gail at 272-8289 ext. 212 or email

Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference: Strengthening Neighborhoods Strengthens New York

The first annual Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference is almost here! Will you be there?

On September 21st and 22nd, Troy will host this grassroots community event bringing in neighborhood advocates from all over New York State. The conference will be held at Russell Sage College in Troy.

On Friday night, mingle with people from different communities and attend a keynote speech from writer, speaker, and local activist James Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere. This event is free and open to the public.

Registration for workshops and discussions on Saturday, the 22nd, is open at The day's events will start early with breakfast and another keynote speech, this time from housing, planning, and community development advocate and scholar Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Following will be a large panel discussion and breakout workshops with community leaders from across New York State.

This conference is sure to energize all who attend to return to their communities with new ideas and renewed passion!

Announcing the 2012 Troy Treasure Awardee: Michael A. Esposito

TRIP is proud to announce that this year's "Troy Treasure" awardee is Michael Esposito!  As a lifelong resident of Troy, he has been chosen for his tireless, lifelong efforts toward improving Troy's Little Italy as well as the entire city.  He has also helped to preserve Troy's history by serving for years as the city's unofficial historian. Mike will be recognized at TRIP & RCHR's annual Homecoming Dinner on October 29th.

Early on Mike recognized the potential in our city and has dedicated his life to supporting Troy through his activism, organizing, and recording our history through stories. One of his most ambitious projects was the book "Troy's Little Italy."  Mike is also an integral force in organizing community events including an annual stickball tournament, celebrations of famous Troy residents, and Troy's annual International Festival.

As Frank Visco says, and many would agree... "Mike has the goods." 

Congratulations, Mike, on being this year's "Troy Treasure!"

For tickets to the Annual Homecoming Dinner call Gail at 272-8289 ext. 212 or email at

Sunday, September 9, 2012

General Election to be held Tuesday, November 6th -- Don't Miss Your Chance to Vote, Register Today!

Make sure your voice is heard.

Important Voter Registration Deadlines:

Mail Registration -- postmarked no later than October 12th and received by a board of elections no later than October 17th

In Person Registration -- Must register by October 12th

Change of Address -- Notice of an address change must be received by October 17th

NYSERDA Energy Audits Help You Go Green and Save Money

Do you think your utilitiy bills are too high? Is your home chilly in the winter? Are your heating and cooling costs too high? TRIP can help you find the energy efficiency program that's right for your home or apartment. Taking control of your energy use will save you money and make your home more comfortable year-round.

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and home comfort while saving money. Energy assessments and upgrades are conducted by a participating Home Performance contractor accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Income-qualified homeowners are eligible for additional incentives to make energy improvements.

There are six simple steps to make your energy efficient upgrades happen:

1. Get assessed. Have a comprehensive home energy assessment performed by a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor. In addition to measuring your home's energy performance, your Home Performance contractor will perform important health and safety tests to ensure major combustion appliances (furnace, boiler, water heater, stove) are operating properly. For most New Yorkers, the home assessment is free. Request an assessment form and find a participating BPI-accredited Home Performance contractor by visiting

2. Make a plan. Your contractor will review the results of the comprehensive home energy assessment with you, and then work with you to select cost-effective energy upgrades that match your budget and goals.

3. Paying for the work. If you don't have the cash on hand to make the improvements, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans and assisted subsidies to help you pay for work. You can now finance energy efficient upgrades with low interest payments conveniently built into your existing utility bill. Offset your payments with the savings you earn.

4. Get approved. Receive loan status notification and return the signed loan documents.

5. Upgrade. Have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor implement the upgrades described in your Scope of Work. NYSERDA may inspect the work to verify its quality.

6. Test-out and earn incentives. When your energy upgrades are finished, your contractor will repeat the test conducted during the initial assessment. Upon test-out and acceptance of work you and your contractor will sign a Certificate of Completion, which is submitted to NYSERDA. Your lender will then make payment to your contractor. You can also enjoy other incentives like 10 percent cash back on eligible upgrades.

TRIP staff can help you choose which NYSERDA energy efficiency program is right for you and guide you through the process. Call us at (518) 690-0020.

Keep your hard-earned energy dollars! Visit to get started.

Don't Forget to Bring Your Old Electronics to the TRIP & RCHR Green Fair, 9/29

On September 29th, from 9 AM - 1 PM, in the Troy Marina Parking lot (just north of the Green Island Bridge), TRIP & RCHR will host our first Green Fair. Underwritten by Citizens Bank Foundation and in partnership with Rensselaer County and the City of Troy, TRIP & RCHR will host eLot Recycling and local organizations providing an array of Capital Region eco-knowledge.

Items that can be recycled for FREE include: batteries, cameras, cell phones, electronic toys, florescent light bulbs, lawn mowers, etc. For a full list of recyclable items visit:

** Note: for those recycling computers-- eLot will be accepting both computers that have already had their hard drives erased as well as those that will still need to be scrubbed.  When depositing your computer, there will be signs indicating which pallet to leave your machine on.  Computers still needing to be cleaned will be brought back to the eLot warehouse to have hard drives erased.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, Featuring James Kunstler and Alan Mallach

On September 21st and 22nd, Troy will hold the first annual Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference, a grassroots effort to share information about community-building efforts throughout New York State. The conference will be held at Russell Sage College in Troy.

Things will kick off on Friday evening, Sept. 21st, with a free, open to the public  keynote address from famed writer, speaker, and local activist James Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere.  You won't want to miss hearing his interesting perspective.  
Registration for workshops and discussions on Saturday, September 22nd, will open soon at The day's events will start early with breakfast and another keynote speech this time from housing, planning, and community development advocate and scholar Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Following will be a large panel discussion and breakout workshops on a variety of interesting topics with community leaders from across New York State.

If you would like to help out at this event, organizers are looking for volunteers! Please contact Dorcas Rose at for more information.

UPDATE: Registration for the Statewide Neighborhood Revitalization Conference is now open!  Visit to register for workshops.

69 Middleburgh Update

TRIP's current rehabilitation of 69 Middleburgh Street is beginning to take shape. After stripping the inside of the building almost entirely down to the masonry and studs, the remodeling has begun.

We broke ground on the remodel July 30th and expect to host a ribbon-cutting in late fall. Working with FH Alexander Construction, we are looking forward to great results!

Once finished, 69 Middleburgh will have three apartments available for rent (one 1-bedroom and two 2-bedrooms). There will also be two convenient off-street parking spaces. Each apartment will be fully renovated-- new from top to bottom, with high efficiency boilers, low-emission windows, and other attractive, sustainable features. We would like to offer sincere thanks to TAP (Troy Architectural Program) for their wonderful designs and for helping us obtain affordable, green focused products and materials.
Rent for these apartments will be set at a percentage of fair market rents targeting lower and middle class families and individuals.

We look forward to our unveiling in the fall and moving new tenants into these great new apartments!

Troy's National Night Out

Police-community solidarity brought out the crowds last Tuesday, August 7th. Troy celebrated National Night Out with plenty of food and fun while educating residents about the importance of coming together against crime.

The North Troy event was held at the 10th Street pocket park and offered important community information as well as a Bouncy Bounce and airbrush tattoos!

Down in South Troy, residents gathered at the Burden Iron Works Museum for live music, a clown making balloon animals, and a meatball eating contest!

Troy police officers were in high attendance at both events offering tours of the Mobile Command Center vehicles.

National Night Out is a popular, annual event, and 2012 did not disappoint. One resident of the Hillside North neighborhood summed up the event nicely saying "It's great to see everyone out. We never had anything like this when I was young, and it's nice to see people coming together..."

Deeper Shades of Green: TRIP & RCHR Green Fair, September 29th

Do you have a pile of old electronics taking up space in your house or garage? Have you ever considered home composting? And what's the deal with solar energy?

All of these questions and more will be answered at TRIP & RCHR's first annual Green Fair on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at the Troy Marina Parking Lot (just north of the Green Island Bridge). Underwritten by Citizens Bank Foundation and in partnership with Rensselaer County and the City of Troy, TRIP & RCHR will host eLot Recycling and local organizations providing an array of Capital Region eco-knowledge. Invited groups include Cornell Cooperative Extension, Real Goods Solar, Transition Troy, Troy Shares, CEO, Troy Bike Rescue, Habitat for Humanity, and others.

The Green Fair will run from 9am - 1pm and is open to the public. eLot will be accepting "almost anything that plugs in" for free recycling while other groups and agencies will offer information and demonstrations at our educational expo.

Organizations interested in exhibiting at this event may contact Mary at TRIP, or (518) 272-8289 x213.

We hope to see you there!

Call for Authors: "Troy's Treasures" Column

What makes Troy special to you? Share your story through the "Troy's Treasures" column!

Do you have a "Troy's Treasure" to share?  Let us know! This column -- which promotes positive neighborhood news, events, history, people, etc -- is published in the Troy Record every other Sunday. If you would like to write a column or have an idea for an article, contact Claire Pitts at TRIP and sign up for a publication date. Claire can be reached by phone at (518) 272-8289 x213 or email her at

To read past "Troy's Treasures" articles click here:

New Faces at TRIP: Caitlin Casterlin

Caitlin Casterlin
Welcome to TRIP's newest HomeOwnership Advisor, Caitlin Casterlin! With her strong financial background, having previously worked in banking and at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, Caitlin is sure to be a valuable member of the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center team!

Caitlin's lifelong interest in helping people, especially on an individual level, led her to work with TRIP & RCHR. She looks forward to working with clients as they navigate the worlds of financial stability and homeownership. Having recently purchased a home herself, Caitlin knows how daunting the process can be and hopes to guide others away from possible obstacles.

In addition to the time Caitlin spends working on her new house, she also enjoys hiking with her dog. As a foster pet owner, Caitlin houses, trains, and socializes dogs who will eventually be adopted. This process allows animals to live in comfortable homes rather than shelters while shaping their behavior into desirable pets.

We are all excited to have Caitlin as a member of the TRIP & RCHR community! Welcome!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Volunteers Needed for National Night Out

Do you want to help promote community/police partnerships in Troy? Both North and South Troy are hosting National Night Out events, and organizers are looking for volunteers!

If you would like to know more about Troy's National Night Out plans or are interested in volunteering please contact :
North Troy-- Claire at TRIP, or (518) 272-8289 x213.
South Troy-- Jane Snay of the Burden Iron Works Neighborhood Association,

To learn more about National Night Out visit

Call for Nominations: Troy Treasure Award

TRIP is seeking nominations for the 2012 Troy Treasure Award-- an individual, group, or business committed to improving Troy. We know there are many of you, and we would love to see you honored as a Troy Treasure. This year's Troy Treasure awardee will be recognized at the TRIP & RCHR Homecoming Dinner on October 29th.

Please nominate your favorite Troy resident, business, group, etc. today! The deadline for nominations is July 19th.

More information and nomination forms may be found at

Thank you to Housing Counselors Susan Vosburgh and Birgit Wood

Everyone at TRIP would like to offer a huge "Thank You" to Housing Counselors Susan Vosburgh and Birgit Wood. Both of these wonderful ladies left TRIP in June for new employment.

Susan and Birgit worked in the TRIP NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center for 4 1/2 years and 2 1/2 years respectively. They will both be sorely missed by their clients and all of the staff here.
We wish them luck in their new positions!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Full-Time AmeriCorps*VISTA Positions Available, November 2012- November 2013

TRIP is seeking two motivated and energetic people to join our team for one year through AmeriCorpsVISTA. If you are interested in making a change in Troy and the world while sharing and/or gaining valuable experience and skills, this is a great opportunity for you!

Our VISTA volunteers will promote community involvement and healthy neighborhoods while furthering TRIP's commitment to bringing green and sustainable practices and resources to our customers and the community. We welcome your creativity, energy, and enthusiasm and promise you an opportunity to learn and make an impact in return.

AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) offers a modest living stipend and end of year benefit. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. For more information about VISTA go to

Applications will be accepted until August 3, 2012. For more information or to submit a letter of interest and resume contact or TRIP, 415 River Street, Troy, NY 12180.

Deeper Shades of Green: Managing Cooling Costs

Summer is in full-swing, barbeques are being put to use, ice cream trucks troll neighborhoods, and cooling costs are at their seasonal high-point. How do we stay comfortable in our homes without resorting to lying down on the kitchen floor with the fridge door open? Well, TRIP would like to offer you a couple tricks to keep cooling costs low while staying comfortable during these hot, summer months:

1. Program your thermostat responsibly. If you regularly leave for work at 8:30 AM every morning and return home at 5:30 PM, program your thermostat to automatically set itself higher during those hours... maybe even have it start cooling more about 15 minutes before your scheduled return so that when you open the door you can still feel that cool burst of air! A suggested summer temperature range is 74-78 degrees.

2. Use light colored blinds or shades, and keep them closed while you're out. White or light colored window coverings will reflect sunlight better than darker colors, and if sun and heat are kept out, cooling will be less of an uphill battle.

3. Avoid heat generating activities during the hottest parts of the day. Did you ever think, "It's summer" would be an excuse for you to put off doing laundry? Running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and ovens produces additional heat in your house-- save those chores until later in the evening when it is not as hot.

New Faces at TRIP: Paul Richer

Joining the TRIP staff this month is Paul Richer! Paul, former Capital District Habitat for Humanity Executive Director and Family Support Manager, began on July 9th in the HomeOwnership Center as our HomeOwnership Advisor/ Foreclosure Specialist.

Paul Richer
In addition to his experiences in the housing sector Paul also enjoys taking the stage as an actor. Some of his most notable dramatic roles include: William Shakespeare's King Lear, Antonio Salieri in Amadeus, and John Proctor in The Crucible.

Paul has also spent a good deal of his life outside of the United States either living abroad or travelling. He has been to numerous countries throughout Europe and even lived with his family in West Africa for about seven years!

Helping people in need has been a lifelong mission for Paul, and much of his time has been spent working with troubled children and teens. TRIP is very lucky to be welcoming someone with such a rich, philanthropic background; welcome Paul, from everyone at TRIP!