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More Money, New Qualifications Make Weatherization Easier

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

(Springfield, MO) -- It was a beautiful day, but tomorrow you'll feel a change -- especially if your home is not properly weatherized.

The Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) wants people in the Ozarks to know there's money to help you weatherize your home, and you may be surprised to learn that you qualify.

More qualify because the income guidelines have changed -- increased, to 200 percent of poverty level. This is because the money came from federal stimulus dollars.

OACAC Weatherization Director Todd Steinmann says there are about $4 million left out of $14 million that came our way two years ago. The funding ends at the end of March.

Since the qualifications are more lenient, more middle class individuals and families qualify. For example, a family of four can earn up to $44,000 in income and still make the cut if an energy audit shows that repairs are necessary.

Steinmann wants to remind people that weatherization saves money in both summer and winter, plus the process makes your home safer.

"Our main focus is insulating the home if there's not enough insulation. Another side of our program which isn't the energy efficiency side is the health and safety side. We check every gas appliance for the health and safety issue. So any furnace that we replace, we'll replace with 90 percent efficient furnace so a lot of times they're going with a 60% efficient to a 90-plus efficient so that makes a lot of difference for them too."

Of course, they'll try to clean and repair before replacing.

The funding means jobs too. Typically 12 people work with the program; now about 95 workers are taking home paychecks.

As it stands, there's a 1-3 month waiting list because the program covers ten counties.

Joy Robertson