Part of a Series
In the long run, the most beneficial way to assist low-income households is to not only help pay their energy bills, but to help lower them. The federal Weatherization Assistance Program helps to lower utility bills by providing homes with services designed to increase energy efficiency and thereby reduce the amount of energy those homes use. In order to be eligible for the program, a household’s income must be at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, and/or its recipients could participate in certain other government assistance programs.
Congress should seek to fund WAP at $900 million, which is the amount Congress is authorized to spend on the program in FY 2009. This would help to lower the heating costs of even more low-income families for next winter and future winters. Once the weatherization process has been completed, individual households continue to benefit for years to come, reducing their potential need for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
In addition to helping more families with winter heating costs, investments in WAP would aid in the nation’s economic recovery. Lowering energy bills through weatherization frees up funds that families could spend in their communities, improving their local economies. Investments in weatherization could also expand the work hours and income of current program workers and create new jobs.
For more information on this topic, please see:
- Winter Weather and Low-Income Heating Assistance by Joy Moses