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Poor, elderly get weatherization help

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Some low-income and elderly residents in the Shoals and Franklin County will receive free home weatherization as part of a federal grant.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Monday that a $33,382 grant is slated to be used to make at least six homes in the three-county area more energy efficient.

The 30-year-old Alabama Weatherization Assistance Program pays contractors to improve energy efficiency and safety in qualifying homes. The program gives priority to those with disabilities, the elderly and low-income households with children.

The grant will be administered through the Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama. The agency’s executive director, Tammy McDaniel, said the grant is scheduled to cover six homes but could allow for up to nine if costs at some homes are below $5,000.

“Typically, there are some homes where the needs aren’t quite as great and the money saved can be used in other homes,” McDaniel said. “The recipients have to be homeowners, and the goal is ultimately to reduce their utility bills through reworking wall and ceiling insulation, sealing air leaks around doors and windows, and repairs for air and heating units, among other, smaller repairs.”

The U.S. Department of Energy sponsors the program.

“High energy bills can be difficult for Alabamians with limited resources,” Bentley said in a statement released by his office. “The weatherization program saves energy and lowers utility bills for our most vulnerable residents.”

McDaniel said money saved for participants is money that can be used for other pressing needs, such as medications in the case of the elderly.

“The selection of these participants is based on priority,” she said.

Applications are being accepted, and questions may be directed to the Weatherization Assistance Program office in Sheffield at 256-383-3832.

Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or