Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

January 22, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

The time has come to throw an extra blanket or two on the bed and don several layers before venturing out the door. Here in the Washington, D.C., area, we’re getting set for a week of some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had in years. Because of the long run of generally moderate temperatures we’ve had for quite some time, one may forget about the importance of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance grant program. Not now.

The Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Funds are used to improve the energy performance of dwellings of needy families using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry. The DOE issues funds to states, U.S. overseas territories and Indian tribal governments, which pass the funds through to local communities and nonprofit organizations.

DOE estimates that families receiving weatherization services see their annual energy bills reduced by an average of about $437, depending on fuel prices, and that the weatherization services help offer savings over time.

However, as with most federal programs facing fiscal shortfalls, future funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program is expected to drop. According to Lohud.com, a congressional delegation from New York is calling for President Obama to provide more funding for the program, urging him to allocate $210 million to the program, which is much higher than proposed fiscal year 2014 funding proposals ranging from $55 million to $145 million.

The old expression, “Out of sight, out of mind,” comes into play here. When the REALLY cold weather is not around, one tends to forget the needs of the poor who are living in cold housing. It takes a frigid snap such as this to serve as a reminder that this program is vital to helping the needy survive and reduce heating expenses. The future funding of this program remains to be seen, but it has my support for as much funding as possible. Let’s see if Obama and Congress agree.

What is your take on the Weatherization Assistance Program? Let us hear from you.

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