FY 2002 Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made grant awards
totaling $1,139,990 to one territory and seven tribes under the Residential Energy Assistance
Challenge Option Program (REACH) for FY 2002. This is the seventh
distribution of REACH funds.
One of the tribal winners received $25,000 for energy efficiency education proposals that met specified standards.
INDIAN TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
AND TERRITORY REACH AWARDS: $1,139,990
United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska, Inc
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
The Klamath Tribes
Blackfeet Tribal Business Council
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes
South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency
American Samoa Government
UNITED TRIBES OF KANSAS AND SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA, INC. $70,000
In submitting this applications, United Tribes, Inc. will operate a seventeen (17) month Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option (REACh) Program, which will provide energy conservation assistance to eligible Native Americans who reside within our designated service areas of Brown and Doniphan Counties in Kansas and Richardson County in Nebraska. The applicants for REACh must also be an approved participant in LIHEAP in order to warrant consideration for REACh participation.
During the first year of administering the REACh Program (1998), United Tribes, Inc. found that this was an ideal program for assisting eligible Native American homeowners with performing the following types of energy conservation services:
- Professional check and replacement installation of furnaces and central air units that no longer perform adequately;
- For Native Americans whose main source of heat is a wood stove, install new furnaces/central air which minimize health and safety risks;
- Replace exterior doors with storm doors, install insulation, replace water heaters, etc. which will decrease energy usage;
- Repair or replace roofing that has cause heat loss;
- Purchase of educational materials in both adult and children's formats which provide techniques for saving energy; and
- Health and safety materials such as carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
United Tribes, Inc. will dedicate 80% of the total funds requested directly for the cost of labor, materials, and any other direct expense(s) arising from meeting the objectives of this program as outlined.
CONFEDERATED SALISH AND KOOTENAI TRIBES
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the governing body on the Flathead Reservation in Western Montana, will, under the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACh) Option Program, address the problems of drafty housing, inefficient heating systems and inadequate education that contribute to utility bills that could pose life-threatening decisions for low-income elderly and families with preschool children. In 2001, CSKT's Department of Human Resources Development helped 788 families on the Flathead Reservation with Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds. Without a concerted effort to fix the root causes of the high utility bills, the LIHEAP payments continue to be only a "Band-Aid" approach that keeps these low-income residents from having their utilities disconnected and unavailable during cold weather or having to decide whether to pay heat bills rather than food or medical bills.
This REACh grant will help to determine the scope of conservation measures needed for houses owned or rented by elderly tribal members and seek to provide rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing. The scope of the problem related to housing heating dysfunction is unclear. Activities planned under the grant include researching the extent of poor heating conditions in housing on tribal lands, working with senior citizens and community centers to provide education and retrofitting help for Reservation elders and low-income residents, and developing through senior citizen centers and community centers a support team that helps residents tackle the worst of their heating problems and recommend energy efficient activities.
THE KLAMATH TRIBES
The Klamath Tribes' REACh project will serve the low-income members of the Klamath Tribes in Klamath County, Oregon. The goal of this grant is to increase the efficiency of energy usage by low-income families and to target energy assistance to individuals who are most in need.
The REACh project provides for energy assessments of homes, counseling services for budgeting, referrals to additional resources, education classes on energy conservation, and provides for incentives to pay energy bills on time.
This project brings together service providers from a variety of agencies to work cooperatively to serve clients to avoid duplication of efforts and to assure their program resources are best utilized to serve the most people.
Energy vendors are included in the planning and training sessions and memorandums of agreement will be negotiated with those vendors to provide additional incentives to their customers. It is our belief that most people want to pay their bills on time and lack the support necessary to organize their daily lives and income to meet their needs. This program will provide that support by working one on one with clients and reinforcing positive behavior.
BLACKFEET TRIBE OF MONTANA $150,000
The Blackfeet Tribe under the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACh) Program will target energy related assistance to low-income families who are most in need. The State weatherization program funds the reservation population of 8,000-which serves only 48 homes. Many homes do not receive adequate weatherization services and some not at all. Therefore, the Tribe will enter into a two-year development project to create a Reclamation Center.
The Reclamation Center will provide affordable, quality materials that will be used (1) to carry out energy conserving improvements to eligible homes; and (2) to provide for housing repairs (such as roofing and insulation repairs) that will increase energy efficiency while making possible the application of other weatherization improvements.
Year one will provide the "leg work" associated with the development of the Center. We will gather information, collect data, and identify resources, infrastructure and operational needs. Additionally, we will develop a framework for holistic approach in coordination with related services. The Reclamation Center ties directly into the newly created Home Energy Conservation Department that is currently developing strategies into a holistic approach. Focus will be on assisting low-income families achieve energy self-sufficiency.
In the second year, the Reclamation Center will begin providing services to these eligible households. Recycling these materials provides an affordable energy related alternative for low-income households allowing them to meet energy costs and reduce their energy vulnerability.
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians will conduct a two-year Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACh) Option Program. The target population will be Native American households whose families require assistance in becoming energy efficient, and whose income does not exceed 150 percent of the poverty guidelines with priority given to households at or below 125 percent poverty levels within the nine-county rural service area in Northwestern Michigan.
The Tribal plan is designed to increase the ability of eligible Indian households to meet energy costs and encourage energy self-sufficiency. Under this proposal, the Band of Ottawa Indians Housing Commission will meet the educational, technical and financial needs of low-income households that are committed to conserving energy and reducing their energy consumption.
The Tribe plans an innovative method of "reaching" more tribal members by setting up educational booths at annual membership meetings and Conservation Department fairs and assisting low-income families by offering consumer education services. Community meetings will be held at two project sites sponsoring "hands on" workshops that provide safety and weatherization kits allowing for immediate safety, health, and energy saving improvements in homes.
The REACh Project will be operated by the Tribe's Executive Housing Director, thereby by assuring close coordination between the proposed REACh project and the current LIHEAP Program. Intervention services provided through office visits, home visits (inspections) and community meetings will benefit approximately 140 recipients. A portion of these program funds will be utilized to target inefficient appliances for replacement and inefficient furnaces for replacement. REACh funding will be leveraged with other housing programs that provide extensive weatherization home rehabilitation.
The expected outcome will be to share the immediate and long-term benefits of energy education and conservation with families to ensure long-term success.
CENTRAL COUNCIL TLINGIT AND HAIDA INDIAN
TRIBES OF ALASKA $175,000*
The Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has successfully carried out previous REACh projects and is uniquely positioned to deliver REACh services to low income Native families within southeast Alaska under the proposed FY2002 REACh program model. The project model that has been developed and refined in previous projects is based on the strategy of utilizing REACh program services as a means of outreach and intervention for isolated low-income families, and providing these families with the technical support, training and incentives to gain control of their energy payments and costs, and to access other Central Council programs through an overall self sufficiency program model.
This project will benefit from the development of the Central Council "one stop shopping" program database, in which intake and assessment form can be used for eligible families regardless of the program services they are accessing, thus reducing paperwork and increasing the efficiency of service delivery.
The Central Council will exercise caution in respecting the values and circumstances of these Native families, to deliver services in a non-judgmental manner. The project will address building the capacity at the village level for energy decision-making and self help. The project model will also provide for greater and more meaningful customer input and satisfaction. This information is then used as the baseline for design and delivery of program services. Further improvements for the FY2002 REACh Program will be to establish and strengthen linkages to the Central Council Head Start Program, Tlingit and Haida Housing Authority, the Central Council TANF program, and Central Council Eldercare program, for program outreach, information dissemination, client identification, and holistic family service plan development.
*Includes $25,000 for the Energy Efficiency Education Plan
SOUTH PUGET INTERTRIBAL PLANNING AGENCY
The South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (SPIPA) will address the energy burden that negatively impacts almost 200 families, who are LIHEAP eligible, within the five (5) tribes served. Home energy needs relating to housing type, condition, and occupancy are significantly greater within these tribes than exists in the U.S. population as a whole. These effects are damaging to the economic, social, and environmental well being of these communities.
The SPIPA REACh program will consist of the following:
- An evaluation process to establish baseline data regarding the energy consumption for all LIHEAP eligible households within the five Tribal participants. Post-evaluation and comparison processes to determine the level(s) of impact and improvement(s) resulting from these interventions will be conducted.
- Educational programs in the form of budget/money management, and life coping skills workshops-two (2) per tribe for a total of ten (10). Continuous outreach, informational and feedback efforts will be sustained through monthly newsletters, with occasional opinion surveys attached.
- A pilot effort to provide energy-efficient modifications for four (4) homes per tribe, or a total of twenty (20) homes. A maximum of $1,100 per home will be applied.
- Collaboration between the Tribes and their select program coordinators, SPIPA, and external stakeholders (e.g. PUD's, HUD, etc.).
The 2002 REACh project model is formulated to serve as a progressive step towards the implementation of strategic initiatives that will assist and enable these LIHEAP participants, and the communities they populate, to realize the following benefits:
- Increased awareness and knowledge regarding energy consumption, and the available tools for conservation;
- Increased capacities for effective personal budgeting and resource management;
- Energy-efficient home modification efforts; and
- Increased awareness and utilization of (SPIPA) programs that form a holistic approach towards the elimination of peripheral barriers to energy efficiency.
The ultimate benefit of these efforts will be the achievement of lifestyles that are living models of energy sustainability.
THE AMERICAN SAMOA TERRITORIAL ENERGY OFFICE $150,000
The American Samoa Territorial Energy Office (TEO) has previous successful program experience assisting low-income households to reduce their energy burden through energy efficiency.
Through the REACh program, several households have been identified that do not have refrigerators, but rather use ice chests and purchase ice to preserve food. This is about twice as costly as operating a high efficiency refrigerator. A very high percentage of the Territory's 3,600 low-income households have old and dilapidated refrigerators.
Maintaining the "keep it simple" approach was successfully used in the previous REACh Program. TEO proposes to purchase and distribute 80-100 high efficiency refrigerators to low-income families with the highest need. The highest need households will be selected from a pool of approximately 300 households screened and visited. All 300 households visited will receive counseling on energy conservation.
The expected outcomes of serving 300 households are reduced frequency of utility disconnects, between 15-50 percent saving on food preservation costs, and improved hygiene and wellness. Data loggers will be used to monitor refrigerator consumption on select old and new refrigerators. This information will be used to evaluate the program's financial benefit, and the refrigerator manufacturer's energy saving claims on the yellow "Energy Guide" label relative to a tropical climate.
Other insular areas and tribes that have limited resources to draw from can easily duplicate this project design.