FY 2000 State REACH Awards
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made grant awards
totaling $5,482,277 to five states under the Residential Energy
Assistance Challenge Option Program (REACH) for FY 2000. This is
the fifth distribution of REACH funds.
One state winner received an additional $100,000 for energy efficiency education proposals that met specified standards.
STATE REACH AWARDS:
STATE OF ALABAMA $1,000,000
ALABAMA DEPT. OF ECONOMIC & COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
The Alabama REACH Program will be implemented by the State of Alabama's Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Community Services Division, in collaboration with the following Community-based organizations: Community Services of Calhoun and Clebume Counties (CSCCC); The Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, (JCCEO); The Community Action and Community Development Agency of North Alabama, (CACDANA); and The Community Action Agency of Baldwin, Escambia, Clarke, Monroe and Conecuh Counties (CAA of BEMC&C). The combined service area covers eleven counties located throughout the State of Alabama.
The Alabama REACH Program is aimed at helping low-income households reduce their energy consumption and usage. The program will illustrate the long-term cost effectiveness of supplementing energy assistance payments with non-monetary benefits that will help households achieve energy savings.
LIHEAP-eligible clients targeted for services must be at or below 150% of the poverty guidelines; at least 55 years of age or older and/or disabled; have a high energy burden; have a current energy bill that requires payment; and reside in homes that need weatherization.
REACH clients will receive an assessment of estimated energy usage; public education programs teaching best practices on ways to conserve energy; home energy audits; and family needs assessments. The assessment will determine which energy conservation measures should be initiated, and clients will be required to participate in energy education classes. The REACH Program's proposed interventions would directly address the needs of the target population through the following activities:
1) Provision and training for use of energy efficiency devices such as thermostats, filters, solar screens, etc.
2) Staff/contractual installation of devices where necessary
3) Leveraging additional funding and programs; and
4) Emergency assistance to households for utility payments.
To assure program responsiveness to client's needs and views, REACH will organize two committees. The first committee will be a consumer advisory committee to assure that interventions are appropriate and inputs are solicited from individuals who are financially eligible for benefits and services. The second committee will be a statewide project steering committee to oversee the activities relating to low-income energy services.
STATE OF MONTANA
MONTANA DEPT. OF PUBLIC HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
The Montana REACH Project will be implemented by the State of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services, which will contract for services through Action for Eastern Montana and Districts IV, VI and VII Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs).
The project will assist at least 600 LIHEAP households with the highest energy needs, by permanently reducing their energy costs, enhancing their ability to make regular payments to utility companies and fuel vendors, and addressing health and safety issues in the dwellings they occupy. The following innovative activities will be undertaken as part of this program:
Energy conservation and health and safety related minor home repairs (including fuel tank purchases and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where appropriate), client education, and depending upon initial analysis, either:
1) A heating system retrofit to improve heating efficiency and/or to make cheaper or more competitively priced fuel available to the household; or
2) Complete heating system diagnostic testing, safety inspection and repair.
The project will complement utility company restructuring activities in Montana by providing information to and soliciting financial assistance from utility companies and fuel vendors who are actively seeking methods by which to satisfy requirements that they provide or finance low-income Uniform System Benefit Charge programs as part of their transition to full competition. This undertaking is a key component of the State's efforts to assist low-income families in meeting their energy needs.
STATE OF NEVADA
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
The State of Nevada, Department of Human Resources,
Welfare Division, will administer the REACH Project in partnership
with the Nevada CBO recipient, Community Services Agency.
The State of Nevada REACH Project will pilot an approach where individual and family energy self-sufficiency can be achieved through a program that combines basic weatherization with a means for low-income households to save their way out of their annual energy assistance needs through an Energy Individual Development Account. The target population for this project includes LIHEAP and Head Start eligible families throughout Northern Nevada.
In addition to weatherization services, the Energy Individual Development Accounts (IDA) will provide to individuals and families with limited means an incentive to accumulate assets by saving a portion of their earned income. The participants' savings will be matched, on a one to one basis, to purchase energy-efficient appliances, to pay energy costs after switching to a lower-cost energy source, or to pay for high energy costs during the winter months.
Additionally, the Nevada REACH Project will provide training for participants in the areas of financial stability and energy usage. This project also includes Energy Efficiency Education Services that will provide additional energy education workshops and a walk -through energy audit as an energy education tool for participants. This tool will allow participants to assist with the identification of energy conservation and energy efficiency appliances to improve the energy consumption of their household, to reduce their home energy costs, to minimize health and safety risks within their homes, and to maintain their highest possible level of energy self-sufficiency.
The project award includes $100,000 for Energy Efficiency Education Services.
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA $882,277
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF PUBLIC WELFARE
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in partnership with the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) will operate the REACH for COOL AID project. This project is designed to promote life saving and affordable solutions to extreme heat emergencies among seniors and disabled low-income persons in Pennsylvania. The goal of the project is to prevent heat-related suffering and death of low-income, at-risk older adults, and to lower their energy bills by providing cooling treatments that maximize ventilation and cooling during the summer months.
During the decade of the 1990s, Philadelphia experienced five of the hottest summers on record. Since 1993, over 300 people have died during heat waves - mostly low-income senior citizens in their own homes, typically in a room with the windows locked and without a fan or air conditioner.
The Cool Aid project will be Philadelphia's first program for low-income older adults designed specifically to maximize ventilation and cooling while simultaneously lowering energy bills. A team of skilled auditors/energy educators will recommend a series of home treatments, including:
. Window repair, including security locks and screens where needed
. Reflective roof coatings
. Roof insulation
. Whole house fan installation
. Air conditioner repair, retrofit, or installation
. Energy Education
In order to maximize energy savings, ECA will leverage other energy conservation services for these clients. These services will include utility-funded gas, electricity and water conservation. The project will be evaluated to determine the level of energy savings, particularly in electricity. This evaluation will include monitoring of indoor air temperature and the comfort level of the occupants.
Given the importance of reducing the social isolation experienced by these elderly persons, the participating Neighborhood Energy Centers (NEC's) will provide intake and case management to insure that the elderly person's basic needs are met on an on-going basis, and that there is social contact for all Cool Aid clients.
Four hundred homes will participate in the pilot phase of the project. Financial and other support from foundations and corporations will be pursued under this project. Toward this end, an Advisory Committee will be created and include representatives of the three utilities, Department of Community and Economic Development, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Senior Centers, the Department of Public Health, the Mayor's Commission on Services to the Aging, and the Neighborhood Energy Centers.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY
TRADE & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development's REACH project will be administered by A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity (A W.I.S.H.), an international non-profit agency in Washington State that promotes community sustainability.
A W. I.S.H. will collaborate with community-based organizations and public and private utilities to achieve project objectives. A W.I.S.H. will work with the community based organizations (CBOs) now delivering weatherization and energy assistance funded by LIHEAP and the DOE Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program to carry out project activities.
The project goal is to permanently reduce the energy costs of low-income households in Washington State, thereby removing the need for LIHEAP. This will be done by integrating energy assistance (via a rate discount or Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) program) with targeted weatherization, in conjunction with a strong energy education program. A unique feature of the project will be the use of a utility peer exchange team for utility to utility communication. This collaborative effort will build on the best CBO and utility designs to take advantage of the ongoing restructuring occurring within the electric utility industry.
The strategy is to permanently impact the biggest energy problem low-income households have: energy costs rising at a higher rate than the household incomes of LIHEAP clients. The approach will help stabilize low-income households' energy costs and increase their ability to make regular payments.