FY 2003 State Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made grant awards
totaling $5,097,740 to seven states under the Residential Energy
Assistance Challenge Option Program (REACH) for FY 2003. This is
the eighth distribution of REACH funds.
The State of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Services Division will implement the REACH project. This REACH project will be operated in four separate community action agencies:
1) Community Action Partnership of Huntsville, Madison &
2) Organized Community Action Programs
3 Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama
4) Community Action Agency of Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Calhoun & Cleburne Counties
The Alabama REACH project 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.
The target population selected will be served in the following priority order:
- Clients eligible for the REACH program that have income at
or below 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level;
- Clients who own their mobile homes at least 10 years or older,
previously weatherized or considered for weatherization repairs;
- Clients with high-energy burdens (identified by previous year electric bills)
REACH clients will receive an assessment of estimated energy usage, public education programs of best practices to conserve energy; energy audits of homes and a family needs assessment. This assessment will determine which energy conservation measures should be initiated along with participation in energy education classes.
The CSBG impact measurement scales, known as a family matrix, will be used to measure incremental change in the REACH participants' well being.
These interventions will result in a significant decrease in energy usage for the average program participant and for many low-income families; this reduction will provide the economic margin necessary to continue to live in affordable housing.
The New Hampshire Office of State Planning and Energy Programs, in partnership with Tri-County Community Action Program of Berlin, NH will implement the Northern New Hampshire Low-Income Furnace Cleaning Initiative.
The goal of the Initiative is to reduce energy consumption and expense in low-income households by providing furnace-cleaning services to 5100 homes in the Tri-County Service area. The project will also take an inventory of the existing home heating equipment in these households in order to identify and replace unsafe systems.
This Initiative will be closely coordinated with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the New Hampshire Low-Income Weatherization Program.
This Initiative proposes a unique process that will collect pertinent information about household heating consumption and equipment. In addition, critical services will be provided in order to measure the positive impacts of this initiative on both the energy security of low-income households, and on the return-on- investment of furnace cleaning pragmatic terms for state and Federal LIHEAP administrators.
This innovative approach will provide home furnace cleaning services that will reduce household energy heating consumption of low-income families by an estimated 10-30%.
The Department of Social Services and the Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc. (HRA) will operate the REACH/New Britain project. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of using behavioral change and community collaboration to reduce the energy burden of low-income households. The project has targeted 300 low-income households living in New Britain, CT (NB).
The project will utilize a dual approach focusing on 1) client services to change behaviors of participating households and 2) landlord and community involvement to engage community stakeholders in supporting increased energy efficiency.
REACH/NB will provide comprehensive case management, energy and financial education services, energy audits, and landlord outREACH and education to increase economic self-sufficiency of participating households through increased energy efficiency in the home.
REACH/NB will allow the opportunity for case managers to spend the needed time with families to work with them more intensively in order to address the underlying issues in comprehensive and lasting ways. The project will provide for advocacy with, and outREACH to, landlords; it will also support educational energy workshops for landlords.
The project will also develop and convene a "New Britain Energy Advisory Council" with diverse community representation, to advise the project and ensure effective and responsive implementation.
The "New Britain Energy Advisory Council" will convene diverse constituencies, including REACH participants, landlords, utility and fuel companies, the City of New Britain, and service providers to create and support a holistic approach to energy self- sufficiency in New Britain.
The Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development has partnered with A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity to develop supply-side solutions to the energy issue. The target population for this project is LIHEAP-eligible households that heat with electricity.
The goals of this project are to increase self-sufficiency of low- income families by securing long-term fixed-priced energy sources and nonfederal energy assistance by participating in the rollout of Washington's wind power industry. The project will develop 12 megawatts of wind power dedicated to low-income households through a partnership between utilities and the LIHEAP/DOE WAP/CSBG network and reduce the energy burden of 12,000 LIHEAP-eligible families by twenty percent.
In addition, this project will help low-income agencies acquire and operate wind-turbines, exchanging the energy produced for rate discounts/rebates to low-income customers and help these agencies become part owners in cooperatively owned wind farms with blocks of power set aside for low-income households.
By decreasing dependency on LIHEAP funds for many households, this project will be able to redirect assistance to those who have not benefited from previous energy assistance programs.
Project partners include utilities companies, community-based organizations, and local government. Benefits to be derived from this project include a cooperative model for energy production; energy resource will be developed at cost-based rather than market- based; community-based organizations can tailor energy assistance programs to meet local needs and resources developed under the project will continue to provide benefits for 17 to 20 years after the REACH project ends.
The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Energy, and the Social Development Commission of Milwaukee are collaborating to provide significant improvements in individual and family energy self-sufficiency.
The target population consists of portions of three designated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) strategic planning areas. The project will focus on empowering individuals, families, and households through energy conservation, financial education, skills training, short-term financial assistance, and long-term support for client savings and asset building.
Major elements of the work plan include:
- three-hundred households will begin a consistent, monthly co-
payment schedule within ten months of the award:
- 150 clients will learn basic maintenance and appliance repair
techniques with proficiency within ten months of the award;
- 150 clients will create and understand their personal financial
plans and create positive cash flow for their families within
36 months of the award;
- clients will receive hands on energy training at the Energy
House within 12 months of award (repeated 3 times during project
) for a total of 90 clients and;
- 30 clients will receive home-buying counseling, become pre- qualified for mortgages, and purchase their first home within 36 months of award.
This REACH project will be sustainable over time through the development of a coalition. This coalition will break out services provided to operate in a cooperative manner under available funding streams.
In addition, the project will maintain the core functions through integration of existing services that could not be integrated without REACH support. The integrated models created through REACH Milwaukee will remain, even after the finite end of the REACH funding.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Community Services, in collaboration with the Multi-County Community Service Agency (MCCSA), Warren-Washington-Issaquena-Sharkey CAA, Inc. (WWISCAA), and Jackson County Civic Action Committee, (JCCAC), will implement the REACH project. These organizations cover 15 counties located through the State of Mississippi. This project will assist in helping low-income households reduce their energy consumption and usage.
The target population for this project is low-income:
- clients who have a current delinquent utility Mississippi bill;
- clients who have a high-energy burden;
- clients whose homes have never been weatherized (participants
must have lived in the same house for at least one year and not
expected to move in the upcoming year, and
- clients whose households have metered energy (i.e. electric, gas or propane).
Consideration will be given to those clients who are at least 50 years of age and over and LIHEAP eligible, particularly those that are elderly, unemployed, retired, and/or disabled.
REACH clients will receive an assessment of estimated energy usage, public education programs teaching best practices to conserve energy; energy audits of homes; and a family needs assessment. This assessment will determine which energy conservation measures should be initiated along with participation in energy education classes.
The benefits of this program to the low-income clients are: 1) reduced household energy burdens, 2) increased ability of the client to pay for household utilities, 3) a reduction in homelessness and, 4) a reduction in health and safety risks.
* Includes $100,000 for the Energy Efficiency Education Services Funds
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) has developed a comprehensive approach to solving the energy problems of low-income households.
By coordinating energy conservation, energy education, bill payment assistance, and home improvement services together, this project "REACH for Energy Efficiency in Housing" will significantly lower energy and operating costs, thereby stabilizing the financial condition of low-income households and enabling them to invest in additional energy-saving home improvements.
DPW and ECA will expand its successful Cool Homes program to this area of the city by selecting a five-block area to receive white roof coating. This roof coating not only provide passive cooling in hot summer weather, thereby reducing both air conditioning use and cost, and potentially preventing heat stroke and the loss of life, particularly among low-income seniors, but also preserves the roof and extends its life, on average by ten years.
The pilot phase of this project has targeted 300 homes. The project will coordinate with all other housing developers and community development organizations active in the area, in order to maximize the revitalization benefits. By partnering with the City's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, ECA will work to have the Energy Star standard adopted by affordable housing developers active in the area.
ECA will leverage all other energy conservation and home repair services for these clients in order to maximize the energy savings they experience. These will include the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the utility-funded gas, electricity and water conservation programs. ECA will also motivate low-income homeowners to invest in their own homes by utilizing the Phil Loan, a very low-interest loan, to enable them to undertake repairs which exceed the available grant programs.
In addition to matching funds being provided from existing programs, support has been secured from the Ford Foundation and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Additional funding to support this project is being sought from other local foundations and national corporations.