Posted on August 24, 2009 5:04 AM
Important Information in Weatherization Funding at the State and National Levels (8-24-09)
New grant money is available for weatherization funding on both the national and state levels. The weatherization of homes for low-income families can result in savings of 32 percent on heating bills and hundreds of dollars a year on overall energy bills, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
National: Illinois was allocated $242,526,619 in Weatherization Assistance Program funding, 50 percent of which has already been received. After receiving the initial 10 percent for training and ramp-up activities, Illinois received $97,010,647 more on June 26, 2009 following a DOE review of our state’s comprehensive application. The final 50 percent of funds will be awarded once the state meets reporting requirements and oversight and accountability milestones, as required by the Recovery Act. This funding expands the state’s Home Weatherization Assistance Program, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The funding is planned to weatherize nearly 27,000 homes, and DCEO will award money to 35 existing local agencies. Criteria used to determine which homes will be weatherized include the home owner’s poverty level, whether they are elderly or disable disabled, and the home’s fuel cost.
Important Federal updates:
- There has been a change in reporting requirements. Only 40 percent of awarded money must be spent in the first year, beginning July 1, 2009 (compared to the 60 percent originally stated). In the second year, 60 percent of funding must be spent. OMB reporting requirements for the quarter ending September 30, 2009 are due on October 10.
- In May the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and DOE partnered to coordinate the use of ARRA funding to eliminate barriers preventing the use of weatherization funds in public and assisted multifamily housing. The partnership will streamline the weatherization eligibility process for residents in public housing and privately owned federally-assisted units, as well as 950,000 Low Income Housing Tax Credit-financed units. A family’s income must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty level for a unit to qualify for weatherization assistance.
- FAQs about Weatherization funding are online.
State: The Illinois General Assembly passed the Urban Weatherization Initiative Act, effective July 13, 2009, which seeks to increase both employment and entrepreneurship opportunities with the manufacturing and installation of low-cost weatherization materials. DCEO will administer the initiative’s $425 million, with a focus on weatherizing “owner-occupied, single family homes and multifamily (6 units or fewer) housing in census tracts with high rates of unemployment, underemployment, and poverty to ensure that residents of those communities are able to access the work as a local employment engine.” Outreach strategies will also raise awareness on the cost savings and job training opportunities associated with the program. Grants will be awarded via a competitive request-for-proposal process. All applicants must include a plan for local community engagement, including outreach at local intake centers like churches, schools, and community centers. Eligible applicants include private, public and non-profit entities. Grants will be up to $500,000 per fiscal year.