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The Warmth Connection – Summer 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friends:

Most people know about THAW because of the work we do to keep Michigan families warm, but our work goes beyond that. THAW’s mission is to stabilize and empower Michigan families, keeping them healthy, safe, and warm. That includes access to electricity and clean running water.

THAW helps children, seniors, the unemployed, underemployed, veterans, and disabled individuals in energy crises. More than 70% of the households we assist have a child or senior in the home. These populations are especially vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and may often need medical equipment that requires electricity. They also need water for medication, cooking, and bathing.

Water is a fundamental and essential human need. Access to clean running water is critical for survival and to remain healthy as they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer water usage may increase due to rising temperatures and bathing needs. Water usage is critical for health, comfort, safety, and disease prevention.

THAW currently helps with water bills for Detroit residents enrolled in the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation Utility Assistance Program which supports families working, residing, and with children in the 48219 and 48223 zip codes and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). THAW is also a partner for the Covid Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program through Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. CERA supports water bills as well as other utilities. Specific eligibility requirements are in place for each program.

If you or someone you know needs help with their utility bills, including water, heat, and electricity, please encourage them to call 800–866–8429 or visit

If you would like to help a family struggling with water, electricity, or gas, please support THAW today. Your donation helps vulnerable Michigan residents live healthier, safer, more fulfilled lives.

Enjoy these beautiful warm weather days.

Warm Regards,

Saunteel Jenkins
Chief Executive Officer
The Heat and Warmth Fund

Stay Cool All Summer Long

Summertime is usually lots of fun! It’s a time to enjoy the weather and make memories with family and friends, but as the sun shines more and temperatures rise, so do energy expenses. THAW checked in with friends at DTE for seven easy ways to beat the heat while saving money:

1. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats offer several benefits including cost savings, convenience, and comfort. Program your thermostat according to your family’s summer schedule, so you don’t have to worry about manually adjusting it throughout the day. Some smart thermostats even allow you to control temperatures from your phone.

2. Seal air leaks and insulate. Avoid hot air getting into your home and keep the cool air in by sealing air leaks. You can seal air leaks with inexpensive weather-stripping on doors and caulking around windows.

3. Tune up your air-conditioner. Contact an HVAC professional to get your air conditioner cleaned. An efficiently running AC will save you money and reduce your energy use.

4. Switch to LED lights. LEDs produce light up to 90% more efficiently than traditional, incandescent light bulbs? LED light bulbs conduct less heat which saves energy and can even help save on cooling costs. Installing outdoor LEDs with sensors can also help you save this summer by turning on lights only once it’s dark outside.

5. Change your filter. A dirty HVAC filter can lead to an inefficiently running system and inject dirty air throughout your home. Change your filters at the start of the summer and at least every three months to keep your system optimally running.

6. Give your oven a break. Using your oven during the summer generates heat that can cause your AC to work overtime. Try grilling outside instead.

7. Use ceiling fans. Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If
you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower your air conditioning costs by up to 14%.

Energy usage happens every day and everywhere — in our homes, work, and the world around us. Wasted energy can result in big bills and waste. Wasted energy can result in big bills — consider these tips to lower them.

For more information on energy efficiency and savings, visit or watch THAW’s Energy Efficiency Education video at

Staff Spotlight: Amanda Morris

In this Staff Spotlight feature, we are excited to introduce Amanda Morris. Amanda began contractual work as a utility assistance application processor at THAW in December 2011. In 2014, she officially joined the THAW team and began approving applications. Consistently moving up in the organization, Amanda became the Operations Project Administrator for the Energy Efficiency Assistance Program (EEA) last year. EEA supports low-income Michigan residents at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Residents can receive new, energy-efficient appliances, including furnaces, hot water tanks, refrigerators, and various basement and attic installations.

Even though she describes every aspect of her work with THAW over the last decade as rewarding, Amanda says that helping people live comfortably in their homes after they’ve reached out during the freezing winter is such a wonderful feeling. “Most clients are living in older homes; they may have a boiler, heater or a furnace that is 50 or 60 years old. They own their homes but can’t afford the appliances they need to be comfortable,” she says.

The EEA program aids renters and homeowners year-round. “Many of the people who call for help are seniors, and I love my seniors, or they have children in the home. Knowing that I can change their lives in a week or two, making sure they’re able to eat refrigerated food and be warm is so fulfilling,” Amanda says.

Customer care and service have always been important to Amanda. Before joining the THAW team, she served as a nursing assistant. She left the medical industry when she was asked to support THAW’s expanding Customer Assistance Days (CADs), which provide assistance in communities across the State. Clients receive in-person support during the CADs and get a step closer to the utility relief they need.

As much as Amanda enjoys helping people, she recognizes the challenges of her work. “The most challenging part of my job is when I can’t assist. Someone could be $5 over the income requirement for a program and denied assistance. It makes me so sad, but I always try to connect them to other resources and encourage them to reach back out if their income changes. I know that everyone’s income isn’t the same month-to-month.” At THAW, team members understand families experiencing sudden energy crises and income fluctuation and work to appropriately place them in programs or refer them to other services.

In addition to her work at THAW, Amanda enjoys watching movies, traveling, and math. You can find her randomly practicing math problems throughout the day or helping her children with their math assignments. A wife and mother of three daughters, one of whom is graduating from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and heading to Eastern Michigan University on a full academic scholarship, Amanda is an empathetic, dedicated, and passionate team player.