Schemes to Make Real Your Home Dreams


Did you know that I love music? Rap, R&B, rock, that one country song (you know the one, I forget the name) and of course GoGo (I miss the fried chicken at The Classics). But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that Cardi B song, “W.A.P.,” because it is full of schemes and I just cannot get enough of the WAP.

Darren, ummmm … this is a family-friendly magazine.
I don’t understand what you’re insinuating, but the District’s Weatherization Assistance Program is a great box of WAP. It includes insulation for your hot-water pipes, air-sealing gaskets for outlets/doors/windows and a window shrink-wrap kit. You’re probably wondering why I’m advocating for a winterization program in the summer. Because I applied for my WAP Box in the winter, it didn’t arrive until March. It’s currently closed for the year anyway, but opens on October 1. This is for low-income, but about a month after they announce the program, they sometimes open leftover boxes to all DC residents. I know, that feels like a long time away, but good schemes take time and patience (Rule #7, International Handbook of Scheming).

But Darren, it’s summertime, and I need help ta-day.
Word, you just gonna ignore the WAP like that, ok cool, whatever. I mean, Cardi B did say, “Broke boys deserve assistance from the government (I know that’s right),” and Megan Thee Stallion does have a degree in health administration, so what better time to talk about EMS! Yes, when the Department of Energy & Environment is not winterizing your home, it can help you summerize your home as well! (Merriam-Webster, this is now the first known use of summerize.) The Emergency Mechanical Systems Program (EMS) can help fix your central AC/heat and hot-water tanks. This is a newer program. Both from the DC Dept. of Energy & The Environment (DOEE) here:,energy%20bills%20by%20making%20their%20homes%20more%20energy-efficient.

Darren, my home is already energy efficient, but I have other repairs, and I don’t qualify for LIHEAP. Help Me, Darren!
Aight cuz, chill, I know I write this column, but my tone to myself was very aggressive, I got you. Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar said you need to get a bucket and a mop, probably because she had a leak in her roof, but luckily, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has a grant program for that. (Sorry Cardi, you in NY, so we can’t help your specific situation.) The Single-Family Residential Rehab Program could get you up to $20k for roof repairs and up to $30k for accessibility repairs. The limits for this are higher than most of the strictly low-income programs, so don’t be surprised if you qualify (I think a single-adult household is around $70K/year vs $37K for most low-income programs). Check it out at the DCHD website:

Darren, I’m not gonna lie, I’m just being greedy and want one more program.
See, y’all out here doing the most, but you know what, cool. I got something strictly for the OGs (Older Generation). The Department of Aging and Community Living’s Safe at Home program is similar to the DCHD program, but only for adults over 60 or those over 18 with a qualifying disability. And I have seen nothing about double-dipping into both programs. Why not? Safe at Home is focused on things like grab bars, handrails, chair lifts, etc. – anything that would help stop someone from falling and not being able to get up (shout out to those commercials with that old white lady who was always just on the ground). There are income limits, but again, the limits are a bit higher. I’m not old enough to take advantage of this program, so I haven’t done my usual in-depth research. Check out the website,, or get one of the young bucks in the family to Google it for you. Stay scheming, my friends.

Note 1: Some of these schemes might feel illegal, but if followed according to the steps listed, they are not. Always consult with appropriate legal counsel if there is any concern.

Note 2: Schemes are not scams. I am not trying to make money off you. In fact, I’m trying to save you money, maybe, if you ain’t scared. If you see me out in these streets, I will always accept an order of crispy chicken basil from Thai Orchid.

Note 3: Darren Thompson is a lifelong border hopper of Ward 7 and Prince Georges County. His highest academic achievement to date is winning the 1993 Kimball Elementary School Spelling Bee, and he’s been chasing that high ever since. You can watch his comedic pursuits with The Cookout Collective Presents, “Enigma,” and Washington Improv Theater’s “Hold Up, Book Club” on YouTube and FBLive.