Thursday, February 14, 2013

RCHR Awarded Grant Funds to Assist Rensselaer County Residents

Coming this spring, the Rensselaer County Housing Resources (RCHR), will again have grant funding available to assist local residents with obtaining and maintaining their homes. RCHR has been awarded funds under three government programs, providing grant monies which can be used for downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation projects, and home modifications to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Under the Access to Home Program, income-eligible homeowners and renters in Rensselaer County may be able to receive grant funding to make enhancements to their homes in order to increase accessibility. Home improvements include items such as building ramps and widening doorways. Applicants who are Veterans are particularly encouraged to apply and will find that the income eligibility limits are higher for them.

The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program can assist income-eligible homeowners with home repairs such as health and safety repairs, roof replacement, structural, electrical, plumbing and heating system repairs or replacements, window replacements and energy efficiency measures.

The Small Cities grant program can assist income-eligible first-time home buyers with grants to be used for down payment and/or closing costs at the time of purchase.

“We are pleased to again receive funding for these important programs that assist individuals in acquiring and maintaining their homes.” Said TRIP Executive Director Patrick Madden. These programs can be a lifeline for individuals who are striving to maintain their independence. ”Income-eligible Rensselaer County residents outside the City of Troy may apply for these grant opportunities. Applicants need to be income eligible and current on their mortgage, property taxes and homeowners insurance at the time of application in order to qualify.

For more information about these grants or other homeowner programs, visit RCHR’s website at or call TRIP NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center at (518) 690-0020.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thanks to Key Bank, A Community Partner

Joel Basaillon presents check from KeyBank’s Gifts to the Community Holiday Reception” to Bobbi Carter for the TRIP HomeOwnership Center 

Free Tax Preparation Service

Free Tax Preparation Services available for both Federal and State taxes
  • IRS trained VITA and AARP Volunteerstax return
  • Free electronic filing
  • Faster refunds with direct deposit
  • Total income under $51,000
To make an appointment call or visit any of the sites listed below. Weekday and Saturday appointments available.

Commission on
Economic Opportunity**
2328 Fifth Avenue - Troy
Call: (518) 272-6012

Hoosick VITA
26 John Street - Hoosick Falls
Call: (518) 686-9491

Troy VITA**
Italian Community Center
1450 Fifth Avenue, Troy
Contact community police for
appointment at: (518) 270-4689

Circles of Mercy (VITA / AARP)**
11 Washington Street - Rensselaer
Call: (518) 462-0899
East Greenbush
Community Library*
10 Community Way
East Greenbush
Stop in to schedule appointment

Everett Wagner Senior Center*
2 Roxborough Road - Grafton
Call: (518) 279-3413

Wynantskill Senior Center*
2 Douglas Street - Wynantskill
Stop in to schedule appointment

*AARP site
**VITA/AARP site
All locations are handicapped-accessible

  • Valid Picture I.D. for you and your spouse
  • Original Social Security Cards & birth dates for You and All Dependents
  • W2 And 1099 Forms From All Employers in 2012
  • Other IRS Forms and/or Information as Appropriate
  • If available a copy of last year’s tax return
  • For Direct Deposits Into Checking Accts: A Voided Check / Savings Accts - Bank Acct. Routing #
  • If Claiming Dependent Care Expenses, Child Care Provider’s Name, Address and Tax ID #

Sponsored by the Rensselaer County CA$H Chapter. Rensselaer County CA$H Chapter is led by Circles of Mercy and is a coalition of community, non-profit social, faith-based, educational, business, financial and government organizations dedicated to promoting financial stability and asset building for individuals and families in New York’s Capital Region.  CA$H, which supports the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax Aide programs, seeks to increase awareness about the availability of various tax credits for working individuals, families and seniors.

Troy Compost

Troy Compost is a Troy citizens’ working group promoting composting at all scales, from neighborhoods to institutions and eventually full citywide municipal composting. We want to stop filling up landfills and use those valuable nutrients to build healthy soil and productive gardens. Voluntary neighborhood composting is the easiest to start and in many ways can be the most resilient and sustainable. Community composting sites are already in the works with The Food Cycle project, at the Oakwood Community Center, CAC Woodside and a potential collaboration with Capital District Community Gardens. To get started, we're looking for neighborhood composting champions and locations where neighborhood composting sites can live.

To get involved, go to the Troy Compost wiki, get caught up, and join the email list to find out about the next meeting.

Take a Sip for TRIP

Faces at TRIP: Sam Messick

Sam Messick
Helping people find quality, affordable TRIP apartments often starts with our Rental Coordinator, Samantha Messick.  As a member of TRIP’s Rental Management team, Sam processes rental applications and helps interested applicants navigate the process.  She also coordinates the landlord screenings, a program that allows private landlords to find the most responsible tenants for their apartments.

When she’s away from the office, Sam likes to bake and read digital-page-turners on her Kindle.  Putting a family recipe to use and baking up a batch of Keyser cookie bars is always a treat.

After a year and a half at TRIP Sam aims to become even more efficient while maintaining a strong sense of empathy.  Finding the right apartment for applicants while remaining open-minded about each individual’s circumstances is key to successful rental management.

Shades of Green in the Workplace

Are you Green in the workplace? What does your business do to employ "green" practices? 

Businesses across the country are taking baby steps and eventual larger strides towards reaching various goals in creating a very sustainable workplace.  Some green practices are simple and others are more involved. This is what one local company is doing...

Turner Construction Company, which has over 40 offices in the US including one in Albany, NY, has seriously committed to making their offices greener and more inviting to their employees as well as visitors.  To date, 43% of their main offices have become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.  LEED is a rating system developed by the US Green Building Council that is designed to measure if a new or renovated building or office meets various requirements to reach a certain level of sustainability. A project can be certified at a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Certified level.  Obviously the higher the level, the more resources are needed.  BUT, the object here in the workplace and at home is to get ideas to start small, save some dollars, enhance even further, save more dollars, and ultimately sustain an efficient, organized, and comfortable setting.

An example of a new initiative introduced in a few of Turner’s offices is the use of interactive touch-screens which lets employees and visitors see live changes in office electricity and water usage, compare energy consumption office to office, and learn about the green features that help offices conserve resources.
Learning from others about basic and advanced practices, as described above, can also lay the foundation for sustainable operations and maintenance practices going forward.. Upfront planning for green operations and maintenance can help building owners and operators ensure that the building performs to its full potential.
Understanding how and when we use energy and other resources can help us evaluate and change our patterns of usage, and make informed decisions to reduce our environmental impact.  This can happen at the workplace or in your own homes.  Take pride in any setting you are in.
Submitted by Michael J. Stewart, LEED® AP
Senior Project Manager
Turner Construction Company
TRIP Board Member

TRIP turns 45 next month!

Happy Anniversary to Us! 

Did you know that TRIP was created in the same year that: 

· Dr Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated; 
· The launch of Apollo 8 began the first US mission to orbit the moon; 
· Jimi Hendrix played the Troy Armory; 
· The cost of a gallon of gas was 35 cents; and 
· You could buy a spacious four bedroom home on Troy’s East Side for under $25,000

1968 was an interesting year!

We have received a great deal of support from many community members, businesses, and other partners over the past four- and a-half decades. This support enabled us to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people and in Troy’s neighborhoods.  We are very proud of the work that we have accomplished. 

We are interested in hearing your feedback on our work.  Please take a minute to tell us below what you think –  is TRIP doing (or has done) a good job and why?  Similarly, let us know where we can improve.

With your continued support, we look forward to bettering people’s lives and Troy’s neighborhoods for another 45 years.    

DIY is the way to go and TRIP can help!

Do you have plans to fix up your home this year? Maintaining a home is a huge part of responsible homeownership and the costs to maintain and improve your home can add up!
You can save money if you’re able to Do-It-Yourself!

Come to TRIP's Home Maintenance Training Workshops and learn the skills you'll need.

Classes are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30pm beginning March 12th and running through April 30th.  All workshops are FREE and held at the TRIP HomeOwnership Center (415 River Street, Troy, Second Floor.)

Participants are welcome to come to all or as many workshops that interest them.  Each class focuses on a different topic:

3/12 - Week 1 - Intro to Home Maintenance Training- Hardware & Tools, Home’s Major Systems
3/19 - Week 2 - Electrical - Installing Outlets, Light Switches, Dimmers, and Light Fixtures
3/26 - Week 3 - Plumbing 1 - Installing Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks & Faucets, Toilet Replacement 
4/2   - Week 4 - Plumbing 2 - Pipe Cutting, Sweating Copper, & Valve Replacements; How to use Pex Tubing;
4/9    - Week 5 - Flooring & Tiling - How to Install Tile & Wood; Tools & Surface Prep 
4/16 - Week 6 - Sheetrock – How to Repair Damage, Install New, Taping & More
4/23 - Week 7 - Painting - Surface Prep, Paint Techniques, Green Options
4/30 - Week 8 - Weatherization and Energy efficiency

To sign up, visit our website: or call 690-0020 x221.  Hope to see you there!

Troy Neighborhoods Action Council Meeting Feb. 13th

All are welcome!!

Wednesday, February 13th, 6 -7:30pm
At The Hill Street Inn, 202 4th St, Troy

"I always look forward to our TNAC meetings. It's great to get together with other community leaders from different areas, from South Troy to the 'Burgh, which we try to do four times a year. The next TNAC meeting is Wednesday, Feburary 13th from 6 - 7:30pm, at The Hill Street Inn on 202 4th Street. Whether it's hearing about another group's projects or getting advice on one of our projects from a group that has 'been there, done that', I always leave feeling inspired and re-energized."
  -Kim Mazor, Hillside North Neighborhood Group

The agenda for the meeting includes:
  • Neighborhood associations’ winning strategies 
  • (Re)Imagining Troy project 
  • What’s the Troy Vacant Properties Workgroup doing? 
  • Getting Involved with a “Drug-Free Community” 
  • and More 
For more information about TNAC, contact Rocco DeFazio at 271-1111
or email Hilary [at] triponline [dot] org

Friday, February 8, 2013

TRIP Announces New Hires

Text Box:      News Advisory     
Release:  Immediate 
Contact:  Patrick Madden, 518-272-8289
Welcome to our newest staff members!

Karisa Beardsley
Karisa Beardsley was recently hired as bookkeeper in TRIP’s Accounting Department..  Karisa is a lifelong Rensselaer County resident with experience in the financial field.  Karisa is a proud mother of two children and resides in Averill Park.

Additionally, at the TRIP NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center, which is a one-stop center to assist people in achieving homeownership, the following new hires were made:

Krystina Marable
Krystina Marable has been hired as Intake Coordinator.  Krystina will assist customers with their initial paperwork and information.  Krystina, a recent Bryant & Stratton graduate, is very community minded and in her spare time you can find her serving at her church. 

Caitlin Casterlin
Caitlin Casterlin has been hired as a HomeOwnership Advisor.  Caitlin will guide customers through the homeownership process.  Caitlin previously worked in banking and at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.  Caitlin also volunteers time to assist in housing, training and socializing dogs to prepare them for adoption.

Paul Richer

Paul Richer has joined the HomeOwnerhip Center as a HomeOwnership Advisor/Foreclosure Specialist.  Previously Paul was the Executive Director and Family Support Manager for Capital District Habitat for Humanity. Paul brings with him extensive experience in the housing sector.  In his spare time Paul enjoys taking the stage as an actor. 

“We are very pleased to welcome Karisa, Krystina, Paul and Caitlin to our team,” said TRIP Executive Director Patrick Madden.  “Each of them brings unique job and life experiences that will be terrifically beneficial to helping our customers, whether they are renting one of our quality affordable apartments or they are trying to reach and maintain their dream of homeownership.”  

TRIP owns and/or manages 250 units of rental housing in Troy and Albany, providing quality homes at affordable prices. To help stabilize communities, TRIP also provides neighborhood support and resident leadership development.  TRIP’ NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center provides an array of services including homebuyer education, financial counseling, down payment and closing cost grant assistance, matched savings programs, landlord training, home maintenance training, and more. Through an affiliation with Rensselaer County Housing Resources not-for-profit housing organization, TRIP’s homeownership programs are available throughout all of Rensselaer County. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

TNAC Meeting Feb. 13th, 6pm

Troy Neighborhoods Action
Council (TNAC) Meeting

Wednesday, February 13th, 6-7:30 PM
The Hill Street Inn on 202 4th Street

All are welcome!!  Come share and hear:
- Neighborhood associations’ winning strategies
- (Re)Imagining Troy project
- What’s the Troy Vacant Properties Workgroup doing?
- Getting Involved with a “Drug-Free Community”
- and More

 For more information about TNAC, contact Rocco DeFazio at 271-1111
 or email hilary at triponline [dot] org

Coming Soon!
Troy Landlord Training Program
April 22 (Part 1) & April 24th (Part 2)
6-8 PM
$15 fee for materials
Register at
or call (518) 690-0020 x221 

Troy Shares: Skill Shares

Do You Know about Troy Shares?

Thinking Outside the Bucks 

What is a Skill Share?
Skill Shares are workshops presented to promote the many gifts among Troy Shares members.
Skill Shares are FREE and open to the public! You’re invited!

Who are we?
We are members of our community who want to think outside the bucks.
Troy Shares is a time bank. Members trade time, not money.

TroyShares is FUN and: 
•helps us know each other 
•helps us share our gifts 
•helps us save money

You have something to offer.

Next Skill Share:
Sun., Feb 10th
at Oakwood Community Center, Corner of Tenth & Hoosick Sts

3-4 pm Offers & Requests: Meet your neighbors

4 pm Workshop Session 1
• Healthy Cooking on the Cheap - Audrey Campbell
• How to Bike in the Winter - Andrew Lynn et al
4:40 pm Workshop Session 2
• Choosing & Maintaining Garden Tools - Howard Traite 
• Intro to Community Organizing - Shanna Goldman
5:20 pm Workshop Session 3
• Health Panel: Nutrition, Herbs, Reiki, Homeopathy, Intuitive Counseling & More!
- Kathleen Boehning & Pati Cumo 
• New Practices for Better Financial Health - Debra Lockrow 

For more info: or 518-308-8097