Importance on Weatherization Program Funding
Written By: Joe Melillo
Senator Kirstin Gillibrand visited Owego this afternoon to talk about the importance of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program.
Owego (WENY) - Senator Kirstin Gillibrand visited Owego this afternoon to talk about the importance of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program. Together with Congressman Richard Hanna, they both stressed why funding cuts to the program needs to stop. Helping people make their homes more energy efficient, saves people money in energy bills every year. That money can be used towards other things therefore helping the economy grow. Congressman Richard Hanna says he believes in energy efficiency, because it saves his constituents money.
“If you spend $6,500 to upgrade a home and you can get close to $450 per year back, that is the definition of something that pays for itself so it makes sense on every level,” says Hanna.
“Over the last 33 years Weatherization Assistance Program helped more than 7 million families across the country save money by improving the efficiency of their homes and that's money that can be spent towards children medicine towards food towards other needs that families have,” says Gillibrand.
Over the past several years, federal funding has dropped for the Weatherization Assistance Program, making it harder for organizations like Tioga Opportunities Inc. and Director Andrew Hafer to help the people that really need it.
“Our elderly, our homes with disabilities and homes with young children. This funding cut will really negatively effect a lot of homes in our two counties,” says Hafer.
In Broome and Tioga counties alone, the weatherization program helped 486 families in 2011. Following drastic funding cuts, that number is expected to drop to just 130 families, lengthening the already long waiting list. Senator Gillibnrand and other senators wrote a letter to President Obama to increase WAP funding in his budget this year.
“It's not a program that has waste or fraud or fat, it's a program that's extremely efficient and effective so that's why I wrote this letter with others,” says Senator Gillibrand.
Last year the Weatherization Assistance Program received $65 million nationwide. In the letter Senator Gillibrand is asking the president to allocate $210 million.