In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a group home called Casa Milagro provides permanent housing for people who have struggled with homelessness and mental illness.

“We try to the best of our ability to be a holistic program that takes into account all of the different human needs and desires,” says Executive Director Desirée Bernard.

She says that approach includes everything from peer support groups to art programs and environmental initiatives, including a garden and rainwater harvesting.

And soon, the 12-bedroom house will be powered by the sun.

Community partners and donors are helping to fund a 23-kilowatt solar array at Casa Milagro. It’s expected to meet all of the home’s energy needs, including heating and cooling.

Bernard says residents are excited.

“They, I think, collectively feel a real sense of pride about it,” she says. “And it feels like a lot of just good and positive energy whenever we discuss it.”

She says that in addition to reducing the home’s carbon pollution, going solar will drastically reduce its utility bills: “That money can just go right back into the program to support the wellness of people who have been through a lot of hardship.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media