Governor Cuomo Announces $57 Million to Help Low-Income Households Reduce Utility Costs, Make Homes Healthier, Safer and More Energy-Efficient

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $57 million in Weatherization Assistance Program funds that will help cut utility costs for approximately 8,600 low-income families and seniors across the state.

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Nearly 8,000 households expected to see costs cut 20 percent or more with the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Photo by: Governor's Press Office.

Albany, NY - April 22, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $57 million in Weatherization Assistance Program funds that will help cut utility costs for approximately 8,600 low-income families and seniors across the state. The funds will be released to a statewide network of non-profit organizations to conduct energy-efficiency work including but not limited to air sealing, insulation, upgrading heating systems, and diagnostic testing to identify hazards such as carbon monoxide and mold to ensure air quality.

“The Weatherization Assistance Program has helped thousands of low-income households across the state make their homes safer and their utility bills more affordable,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will build on this success by helping more New Yorkers save money on energy costs while creating cleaner and more sustainable communities in every corner of the state.”

The announcement was made by New York State Homes and Community Renewal at a residential home in Endicott, New York, that had recently been weatherized.

James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Low-income households spend more than 10 percent of household income, on average, for heating and other energy expenditures. Adding insulation, sealing air leaks, and tuning heating systems are measures that pay for themselves in energy savings. A relatively modest investment in weatherization funds can mean a world of difference to a family struggling with energy costs or a senior on a fixed income.”

The WAP is administered by HCR with funds from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services. Services are available in every county of the state through a statewide network of local providers. Priority is given to households with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and those receiving Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds. The program assists all types of housing including single-family homes, multi-family buildings, and manufactured homes. Since the start of the program in 1977, more than 688,000 dwellings have been assisted.

A recent national evaluation of the WAP commissioned by DOE found that the program is extremely effective in cold climates like New York’s. Work in multi-family buildings is especially cost-effective with WAP investments saving in excess of 20 percent compared to pre-weatherization energy use.

A total of $1.3 million of the $57 million will go toward providing the network of subgrantees with training and technical assistance. Training in weatherization techniques such as energy auditing and repairing heating systems ensures that program funds are used effectively and work is done safely. Each year the Weatherization Program supports hundreds of good, green jobs, and our state-of-the-art training facilities help ensure that workers keep up with rapidly evolving technologies.

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “The high costs of utilities can often break the budget of low income families in New York City. I applaud Governor Cuomo for increasing millions in funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program to help thousands of people in our community. Small upgrades in heating, air sealing and insulation not only can put hundreds of dollars back in their pockets, but also helps the environment and creates green jobs. This $57 million grant will go far in creating happier and more sustainable homes across our state.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said, “Weatherization programs are among the most valuable investments we can make. This funding will help reduce our nation’s energy consumption and put New Yorkers to work, while simultaneously lowering families’ heating and cooling costs. No family should be forced to choose between paying an energy bill and putting food on the table.”

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “In the coldest months of winter, energy bills can break a family’s budget. Federal funds for weatherization and energy-cutting measures will help protect the pocketbooks of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet. I’ll keep up the fight in Washington and continue working with Governor Cuomo to help improve the economic security and quality of life for New York families.”

Congressman José E. Serrano said, “This important federal investment will promote hundreds of green jobs and help low-income families lower their utility costs. By helping individual homes and apartment buildings become energy efficient, this investment will allow thousands all across New York and in the Bronx live in a healthier environment and help them save thousands of dollars in energy costs in the long term. Three grantees in the Bronx will receive this funding, which they use to help weatherize apartment buildings, and provide the training and technical assistance to perform weatherization work safely and effectively. Since it was started in the 1970’s, this program has been very effective and now even more families will be able to benefit thanks to this funding.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said, “Protection from the elements is a critical during every season. Unfortunately for too many of our neighbors, they live in homes that cost too much to heat during the winter or cool during the summer, forcing them to make tough budgetary decisions between paying enormous energy bills or living in harsh conditions. I am thankful New York State operates a leading weatherization program to help those in our communities who need the most assistance in making their homes more energy efficient. I thank the Governor for his work to this end, and I look forward to working with his office on a national level to ensure we help even more people to weather the storm of high energy bills.”

Congressman Tom Reed said, “We care about helping working-families access affordable, reliable energy and lower utility costs, which ultimately is one of the goals of our all-of-the-approach to energy security. Together, we can help improve energy efficiency across the board, which includes weatherization of our homes. Programs like these help our seniors and those struggling to make ends meet stay warm in the winter and helping them is the right thing to do.”

Congressman Steve Israel said, "The Weatherization Program helps Long Island families and seniors improve the energy efficiency of their homes so they can save money. I will continue to fight for smart investments like this so New Yorkers can keep more money in their wallets and save energy while creating green jobs and economic opportunities for Long Island."

Congressman Richard Hanna said, “I am pleased to see these federal resources at work in our communities in New York. It makes an incredible difference for some of our neediest households, which is why I am working in Congress to preserve this important program.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “This critical investment in the Weatherization Assistance Program will ensure that thousands of New Yorkers, including seniors, won’t be forced to choose between basic necessities like food and heat. Working together with Governor Cuomo we can make sure many more New Yorkers have efficient, environmentally-sensitive housing that is not only more cost-effective, but keeps our children, seniors and families warm during the winter.”

Congressman John Katko said, “Individuals and families in Central New York deserve safe, energy-efficient, and affordable housing. This investment will help improve safety and health standards in our neighborhoods and ensure that energy assistance is provided to those in our community who need it most.”

Representative Kathleen Rice said, “Every New Yorker deserves to have access to a safe, healthy and energy efficient home and this funding brings us one step closer to achieving that goal. These funds will not only help thousands of low-income families across our state save on utility costs, but it will ensure that they have the resources they need to protect themselves from serious and potentially life-threatening hazards like carbon monoxide poisoning, which no family should ever have to worry about.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said, “This important funding will go a long way to help our most vulnerable. This an important priority so that low-income families and seniors in the North Country can save money while increasing energy efficiency in our region.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "It's crucial that we act to help struggling families, especially those on Long Island where the cost of living is so high. I am proud to join with Governor Cuomo to announce the expansion of WAP funds to help reduce utility costs and upgrade energy efficient infrastructure in Suffolk County."

A list of the 2016 Weatherization Assistance Program Award recipients is available here.

For more information on the WAP and a list of awards by region, click here.