WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $63 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand weatherization assistance programs in Indiana and New Mexico. The funding, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the states meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help these states achieve their goal of weatherizing more than 22,400 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the country.
"These awards demonstrate the Obama Administration's strong commitment to moving quickly as part of the country's economic recovery -- creating jobs and doing important work for the American people -- while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly," said Secretary Chu. "Today's investments will save money for hard working families, reduce pollution, strengthen local economies, and help move America toward a clean energy future."
Indiana and New Mexico will receive 40 percent of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today. This installment adds to the initial 10 percent of the states' funding allocations that were awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. Under the Recovery Act, the states may spend up to 20 percent of the funds to hire and train workers.
DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level - or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. Weatherization projects allow low-income families to save money by making their homes more energy efficient, which results in average savings of 32 percent for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills. States will spend an average of $6,500 to weatherize each home.
The funding allocations for the Weatherization Assistance Program follow a stage-gate process: on March 12 funding allocations by state were announced and the initial 10 percent of total funding was available to states and territories to support planning and ramp-up activities; comprehensive state applications were due on May 12; following DOE reviews for each state, 40 percent allocations are awarded; and the remaining 50% of funds will be released when states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
The Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the need to quickly deliver funding to states to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
INDIANA - $52,738,953 conditionally awarded today
Indiana will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 19,700 homes across the state over the next three years. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) will administer the program, and provide funding to local organizations to carry out home energy audits and weatherization assistance. These agencies will include community action agencies, non-profit organizations, and local government entities. The state will also use Recovery Act funds to increase its weatherization training and technical assistance capabilities by expanding its partnerships with the Indiana Vocational/Technical College, the Indiana Community Action Association, Inc., and the Environmental Management Institute. IHCDA and its partners will ensure that the state will have a sufficient and capable workforce to carry out home energy audits and weatherization procedures.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $66 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $132 million.
NEW MEXICO - $10,742,242 awarded today
New Mexico will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 2,700 homes over the next three years. The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) will administer the program, which will provide weatherization assistance in each of the 33 counties across the state. MFA will utilize four local organizations to conduct home energy audits and carryout weatherization procedures: three private nonprofit organizations and one regional housing authority.
MFA will also use Recovery Act funding to enhance the technical knowledge of its staff and its local contractors through training and technical assistance to achieve a level of expertise that will maximize the effectiveness and efficiencies of the weatherization program. The training plan provides for a combination of training sessions, topics and activities to provide additional knowledge and skills to MFA employees, basic training to new local agency employees, and to enhance the technical and personal skills of existing agencies employees.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive over $13 million in additional funding, for a total of nearly $27 million.