Weatherization Assistance Program
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income individuals and families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Funds are used to improve the energy performance of dwellings using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry.
During the past 34 years, the WAP has provided weatherization services to more than 6.8 million low-income households. After weatherization, the typical low-income home saves an average of 35% on energy consumption. This is significant, as low-income homes spend on average 14.4% of their income on energy costs compared to 3.3% for other households. For those struggling to pay their bills and in danger of becoming homeless, these extra savings can be spent to help them remain in their homes. Also, by allowing for the weatherization of homeless supportive housing, homeless support agencies can benefit by lowering their energy costs and more efficiently allocate resources.
To support the WAP, DOE will also work to include homeless assistance as part of their referral network through Weatherization Plus Health: A National Effort for Local Healthy Homes Collaboration. Weatherization Plus Health is a project to enable better coordination of resources to benefit low-income households with health and safety problems through the involvement of the Weatherization Assistance Program. This project has the potential to develop collaborations where homeless support agencies could refer those at risk of becoming homeless to the WAP to reduce energy bills and help them afford to stay in their home. Weatherization workers could in turn provide referral information on homelessness prevention programs to those at risk of losing their home. The network could also spark valuable interaction between the WAP and other support agencies to usher homeless supportive housing stock into the weatherization queue.
In addition, the DOE funds 34 Weatherization Training Centers, which train the WAP workforce; nine of which are making extra efforts to employ veterans, at-risk youth, and the unemployed. DOE provided $29 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) grants to establish 26 new and expand the capacity of eight existing training centers in 27 states. The use of ARRA funds opened the door for new training centers that reach outside the WAP network with the potential to create new jobs in this growing industry.
Low-income individuals and families along with shelter systems, including homeless supportive housing, are authorized to receive these services.
The DOE provides funding to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Indian tribal governments, which manage the day-to-day details of the WAP. These governments, in turn, fund a network of local community action agencies, nonprofit organizations, and local governments that provide these weatherization services. The DOE also funds mechanisms that support the WAP such as Weatherization Plus Health: A National Effort for Local Healthy Homes Collaboration and its weatherization training centers.