OCAP receives stimulus funds for low-income residents

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Governor Bob Riley has awarded an additional $30.6 million in economic stimulus funds to help thousands of low-income residents across Alabama reduce their home energy costs. The grants also are intended to stimulate employment opportunities for the construction industry.

The Alabama Weatherization Assistance Program helps individuals cut their utility bills by making homes more energy efficient. The program gives priority to the elderly, those with disabilities and low-income residents with small children. Governor Riley previously awarded $9.26 million for weatherization, including $4.86 million in funding from the federal stimulus law, in late June.

“High home energy bills can break a family budget already stretched thin by job loss or other difficult circumstances,” Governor Riley said.

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Houses that qualify for weatherization assistance will be modified to improve both energy efficiency and safety. Eligible applicants will have their houses tested to determine the most cost-effective measures needed. Depending on the results, a home weatherization project may include extra insulation for the attic, walls and floor, sealing leaks in ductwork, repairs and tune-ups to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and replacement of incandescent lights with more energy efficient

compact-fluorescent bulbs.

The additional funding for the program comes after the approval of the state’s weatherization plan this month by the U.S. Department of Energy, the agency administering the national program. Approval of the plan means that more than 40 percent of the state’s nearly $71.8 million allocation from the stimulus is now available. The Energy Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the state program. The remaining portion of the weatherization stimulus funds will be made available at a later time.

Families with gross incomes of 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less are eligible to apply for assistance. A family of four can have no more than $44,100 per year in gross income. The qualifying cap for a family of two is an annual gross income of no more than $29,140.

Governor Riley awarded the additional funds to 15 community action agencies and other sponsoring agencies that administer the program locally across the state. These agencies receive applications from individuals who wish to be considered for assistance.

Below is a list of funds awarded, the counties served by each agency and contact information:

$3,048,468 to Organized Community Action Program Inc. (Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes and Pike), 334-566-1712