The funds, administered by the U.S. Department of Energy, will be used to increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or occupied by low-income Ohioans, reduce household energy expenditures and improve occupants’ health and safety.
Distribution of funds is expected to begin in June and continue over the next three years. Funding is contingent upon approval of the Home Weatherization Assistance Program plan by the U.S. Department of Energy. A public hearing will provide an opportunity to comment on the plan on May 6 in Columbus.
The Home Weatherization Assistance Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development’s Community Development Division and its Office of Community Services, is free for citizens whose annual household income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
The funds, which are expected to weatherize more than 32,000 homes, are being allocated based on an existing formula methodology to local community action agencies and other public and non-profit entities that carry out the Home Weatherization Assistance Program.
Currently, the state receives approximately $51 million in Home Weatherization Assistance Program funding. Due to the significant increase in funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, specific requirements will be necessary to ensure that the funds are used effectively, timely and with maximum accountability and transparency.
To accommodate the increase in the size of the Home Weatherization Assistance Program during the stimulus period, HWAP providers will add crew members, managers and inspectors and increase the number of contractors.
Individuals and contractors that possess weatherization program experience or a skill set consistent with weatherization practices are best positioned to take advantage of anticipated weatherization work opportunities.
Office of Community Services staff and Ohio’s Weatherization Training Center located at the Corporation for Appalachian Development in Athens provides training and technical assistance for the program. Training includes classroom instruction and demonstration of optimal weatherization methods.
Potential contractors and individuals interested in working in the weatherization field may apply with their local weatherization provider to join an in-house weatherization crew.