Thursday, March 13, 2014

Be a Savvy Consumer

March 2-8, 2014 was National Consumer Protection Week, (NCPW) a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.

Every day, as consumers, we must make important decisions about finances, health, privacy, technology and more. offers consumers a wealth of tips, resources and information on a wide range of topics regarding how to protect yourself and loved ones from identity theft, con artists, scams and more. 

Take a look through the categories listed at the website for resources that will help you make your best choices as an informed consumer.
For more Consumer information
To learn more about National Consumer Protection Week, 
For information and tips for Loan Modification Scam Alert, 

More Than Housing

Did you know TRIP is more than just housing?

We are a helping hand on the pathway to community.

Here is a small sample of how we invest in people who are working everyday to stabilize neighborhoods... 


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 Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 7:30pm beginning March 13th and running through May 8th.  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:

3/13 - Week 1 - Intro to Home Maintenance Training- Hardware & Tools, Home’s Major Systems
3/20 - Week 2 - Electrical - Installing Outlets, Light Switches, Dimmers, and Light Fixtures
3/27 - Week 3 - Plumbing 1 - Installing Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks & Faucets, Toilet Replacement 
4/3   - Week 4 - Plumbing 2 - Pipe Cutting, Sweating Copper, & Valve Replacements; How to use Pex Tubing;
4/10 - Week 5 - Flooring & Tiling - How to Install Tile & Wood; Tools & Surface Prep 
No class 4/17
4/24 - Week 6 - Sheetrock – How to Repair Damage, Install New, Taping & More
5/1   - Week 7 - Painting - Surface Prep, Paint Techniques, Green Options
5/8   - Week 8 - Weatherization and Energy efficiency

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

A Small Investment Protects Your Large Investment

A Fireman in a Can

Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home-cooking fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 1999-2002, there were 114,000 reported home fires associated with cooking equipment on average per year, resulting in an annual 290 deaths and 4,380 injuries. 

TRIP Uses Firestops Cans
TRIP has been using firestop cans for several years in all of its apartments. The “Stovetop Firestop” is an aluminum can, about the size of a tuna can, filled with siliconized bicarbonate of soda. In the presence of a direct flame or a temperature of 277 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat sensor will activate a small pyrotechnic that peels open the unit, causing the soda to fall on the fire and put it out. No one has to be present for the unit to work, and it makes a loud pop when it opens to alert people in the home. 

The unit, which must be replaced every five years, is installed underneath the vent hood with magnets. Two units cover a four-burner stove and cost about $35.00 each.  

It Pays Off
Just last month, the installation of firestop cans in a TRIP apartment paid off in spades.  A tenant accidentally left food cooking on the stove.  The food caught fire and flames reached high enough to light the wick on one of the firestop cans.  The suppression can popped open and significantly reduced the fire which had already spread to the walls.  The large reduction in flames allowed the resident to finish putting out the fire and significantly reduce overall damage.  

When firefighters arrived, the fire was completely extinguished.  We cannot recommend these cans enough.  Our $70 investment saved thousands of dollars in smoke, fire and water damages as well as tenant displacement and possible injuries.

A Visit From The AG

l to r: Hilary Lamishaw (TRIP), Troy City Council President Rodney Wiltshire, 
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,  I-Asia White, Homeowner
Photo by Mike McMahon, The Record

NYS Attorney General Schneiderman visits TRIP and Troy

At a press conference yesterday in TRIP's building at 415 River Street, the attorney general, local elected officials, a homeowner, and TRIP staff spoke about the value of the AG's HOPP (Homeowner Protection Program) which provides funding for TRIP and many other groups to counsel or provide legal assistance to homeowners facing possible foreclosure. A homeowner from Troy, who received assistance through HOPP, shared her story about what a difference it made, particularly since her process had been tied up for years and very complex. 

Attorney General Schneiderman also has proposed some new tools for dealing with vacant properties and "zombie homes" (the owner has abandoned the home and can't be found). He introduced state legislation to expand the number of land banks in the state from 10 to 20 (a land bank is a legal entity that can buy and manage vacant properties) and to require lenders foreclosing on zombie homes to take care of them when they go vacant. 

This is great news for the Troy Vacant Properties Workgroup, which is working diligently to reduce the number of vacant buildings in Troy with a variety of strategies. 

For more information about the press conference, go to

Grow Your Own Victory Garden

WWII poster 
promoting gardening 
(National Agricultural Library)
What is a Victory Garden?
A Victory Garden is a term that came to be known in the early part of the 20th century. They were fruit and vegetable gardens planted at private residences and public parks to feed families and to contribute to the public food supply during WWI and WWII. Victory gardens become a part of daily life for many Americans. 

Yes, Spring IS Coming
You may not know it by the temperatures and the piles of snow around the city, but spring is just around the corner! That means it is time to get out there and work your green thumb. Whether this means planting some climbing peas along a fence, putting in a fruit tree, or organizing a whole garden, there is little more satisfying than eating the fruit of your labor (not to mention the many health and well being benefits to gardening) so we have put together a few resources for you.

Where to Plant?
Many people around the country are starting to replace lawns with garden beds. One of the best ways to do this is to lay cardboard and/or newspaper down over your turf and cover it in mulch. Then, simply water it and wait. Soon you will have a garden bed ready for planting where once there was only grass. See this article for more details.

If you don’t have a yard of your own, the Capital District Community Gardens has sites all over the region which are all set up. Plots are given out on a first come-first serve basis, so if you are interested, call them at 518-274-8685 to sign up for an orientation during March (click here for more details). 

Planning Your Garden: 
This article and chart from the Hudson Valley Seed Library gives a great overview of when seeds can be planted in this area. We are just starting to get into the season when we can start planting, so now is the time to plan and order seeds.

Free Movie Night

American Promise
Madison Theater
March 24th
WMHT & Community Cinema present a free movie, American Promise, on March 24th at 6pm at Albany’s Madison Theater with the CA$H Coalition. A documentary 13 years in the making, 'American Promise' provides a rare look into the lives of two middle class black families as they navigate the ups and downs of parenting and educating their sons.  

To see more independent films before they come to TV, go to

Save the Date to Sip for TRIP

We are pleased to announce our 
2nd Annual 
Take a Sip 
for TRIP
June 5, 2014 
The Hilton Garden Inn 
in Troy.

We hope you will join us for a fun night of tasting both New York State Wines and New York State Beers.

All proceeds from this event will support the 
TRIP/RCHR NeighborWorks® Homeownership Center

Take a Sip for TRIP will feature:
       by Alive Entertainment
:: VIP Tasting for Sponsors
:: Light hors d’oeuvres
:: Live Music
:: Wine Pull & Raffles

Click here to become a Sponsor or to buy tickets.