Sunday, April 15, 2012

Faces at TRIP: Birgit Wood

Birgit Wood
TRIP's HomeOwnership Center is a small group, but they produce big results! Birgit Wood has worked at TRIP for two years as a Housing Counselor where she provides quality counseling to homeowners whose mortgages are in default. As their Housing Counselor, Birgit helps her clients avoid foreclosure - working together they determine the best options given the client's specific circumstances.

Outside of the office, Birgit volunteers at the Schenectady Habitat for Humanity serving on the Family Selection committee. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, Tom, reading (within and outside of the book club she recently started), gardening, and kayaking.

Further, Birgit has recently become fully trained and certified in providing counseling to senior homeowners who are interested in exploring reverse mortgage options. The Home Equity Mortgage Conversion (HECM) reverse mortgage program is available to homeowners over age 62. Providing HECM counseling represents a new challenge that Birgit looks forward to embracing this year.

Troy Bike Rescue Spring Events

Spring is here, and it's time to dust off those bikes! TRIP's 2011 Troy's Treasure Awardee, Troy Bike Rescue, can help you get peddling again! In their own words, "TBR is a collective of bicycle enthusiasts committed to removing bikes from the waste stream, and putting them back into use.  Join us as we build bicycle community through hands-on education."

Their shop is located at 3280 6th Ave. in North Troy, and below is their new schedule and expanded hours:

The TBR Storefront is open Sunday through Thursday 12-5pm.

Workshop nights are as follows:
Open Shop: Monday & Wednesday 5-8pm
Youth Shop (ages 10-15): Tuesday 3-6pm
Fem Shop (women and trans folk only please): Thursday 5-8pm

Troy Bike Rescue's annual fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, 5/19 at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. TBR is a volunteer organization that relies on community support; admission to the event is $20.

As the weather continues to warm up TBR will be even more active. Keep up-to-date on all their goings-on by visiting their website: or 

Go Green and Save Money

Do you think your utility bills are too high? Is your home chilly in winter? Are your heating and cooling costs too high? TRIP can help you find the energy efficiency program that is 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(R) 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 efficiency 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 application from 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 efficiency 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 notifications 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 tests 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 ext. 221.

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

Independent Foreclosure Review

TRIP would like to make you aware of the Independent Foreclosure Review. This initiative was created by The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. A homeowner whose primary residence was part of a foreclosure action between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, and whose home loan was serviced by one of 27 participating mortgage banks, MAY be eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a free service. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee for any foreclosure review service.

For a list of participating mortgage lenders/services, and to request an independent review of your mortgage loan, please visit, or call 1-888-952-9105. Please note that your Request for Review form must be postmarked or submitted to the independent review administrator by no later than July 31, 2012.

If you have additional questions regarding this initiative, please feel free to call Birgit Wood, TRIP Housing Counselor, at (518) 690-0020 ext. 226. Please make sure to reference the Independent Foreclosure Review when calling.

Come to the Housing Fair!

Prospective buyers and homeowners will want to attend the Capital Region Housing Fair on Saturday, April 28th from 10 am-2 pm at the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue in Albany. 

Featured will be dozens of information booths including:
    • Non-profit housing groups like TRIP
    • Lenders
    • Attorneys
    • Housing inspectors
    • Real estate agents
    • Free Credit Reports
    • Free Consultations
Seminars will be held on topics such as:
    • How to hire a contractor
    • How to finance your home
Fair-goers can learn about new programs:
    • How to make your home more comfortable while saving money and the environment
With foreclosures continuing to wreak havoc on families and neighborhoods, participants having trouble with their mortgages can meet with an experienced lawyer or housing counselor for a free consultation about their situation. Also, representatives from Bank of America and Fannie Mae will be available to meet with borrowers and discuss loan options.

One of the most popular features of last year's fair, the free credit reports, will be available this year too. Just bring a photo ID and obtain a free credit report and a credit consultation.

Sponsors include the HomeSave Coalition, Albany Public Library, M&T Bank, NBT Bank, Bank of America, SONYMA, First Niagara, IAR Attorneys at Law, Community Realty, Metroland, and SEFCU.

All are welcome! Door prizes will be drawn throughout the day. More details at or call (518) 434-1730.