Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin and representatives from ACTION-Housing, Inc. Friday toured in-progress weatherization work to highlight the importance of the Weatherization Assistance Program in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Weatherization Day on October 30.
"As cold weather approaches, many families across the commonwealth are turning up their thermostats," Secretary Davin said. "For low-income families, the winter months can quickly become a financial burden. Through the department's Weatherization Assistance Program, we are providing assistance to combat that challenge by providing permanent solutions to reduce energy costs and increase safety year round."
The Weatherization Assistance Program reduces energy costs for low-income eligible households by increasing the efficiency of homes through a federal allocation received from the U.S. Department of Energy, which in turn is allocated to local agencies statewide.
As part of the program, an energy audit of the home is conducted to determine airflow and leakage and weatherization measures are chosen to best reduce the home's energy usage.
Measures may include weather-stripping, insulation placement, and window or door repair. The federally-mandated statewide average to be spent on individual weatherization work per home is $7,105.
Eligible applicants include low-income individuals, at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, with priority given to higher risk residents such as the elderly, disabled individuals, families with children, and high energy users.
"ACTION-Housing started implementing this program 35 years ago," said Larry Swanson, executive director of ACTION-Housing, Inc. "What started as inspection audits has evolved into truly life-changing work. Since its inception, we have fixed an estimated 41,000 homes. This program allows us to alleviate the burden of utility bills for our clients, and we continue to eradicate many unsafe living conditions. Naturally, this kind of work gives birth to compelling stories."
Another critical element of WX is DCED's partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) through which DCED receives a separate allocation of 15 percent of the statewide Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP Crisis) for the repair or replacement of furnaces during heating emergencies.
"Through our federally administered Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, we are able to help keep Pennsylvanians safe and warm during the cold winter months," DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "You, or someone you know, could be eligible for LIHEAP. Apply today at COMPASS.state.pa.us or by visiting your local county assistance office."
Since 1977, DCED in collaboration with its local partners, have weatherized more than 535,176 homes and responded to 114,620 heating crisis emergencies.
To commemorate National Weatherization Day's 40th year, Gov. Wolf signed a proclamation to formalize the observation throughout Pennsylvania, bring further awareness to DCED's Weatherization Assistance Program, and further demonstrate the administration's commitment to creating strong, stable communities.
For more information, visit DCED’s Weatherization Assistance Program webpage.