Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Audubon Area Weatherization program helping local people

J-E News Editor
For many Webster County residents, the cost of ever increasing utilities has become unbearable, especially when winter is as harsh as the one we are still trying to finish. For some of those people there is some help out there just waiting for them.
Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. has quietly been helping out those in need through their Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP provides services to reduce the energy costs and improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. Energy audits are conducted to determine which energy efficiency measures are most appropriate and cost effective for each home. The focus is on energy conservation, health and safety.
Tony Lindow with WAP said that it is a lot easier to qualify for the program than most people think. A family of four making less than $47,000 a year, or a single person living alone earning less than $22,980 have already met the income requirement.
“To apply they need to supply us with the past twelve months’ heating and electric bills,” said Lindow. “They also need to bring a deed or title, a social security card for any household members and the past year’s income for anybody over 18.”
Last week workers were at the Clay home of Lisa Ronemous, installing new installation and weather striping throughout her house. She also received a new energy efficient refrigerator.
“I’m tickled to death,” Ronemous said. “I feel like a kid on Christmas!”
She said that she applied for the program over a year ago at the urging of a friend, but she never thought that she would be selected. Ronemous is a renter, and believed that not owning her home would disqualify her from the program. It turned out that this wasn’t the case.
“They called me out of the blue and told me that they had the funding to do my house,” she said. “All the owner had to do was show them a copy of the deed and agree not to raise my rent because of the improvements.”
“It worked great for me,” said property owner Gary Williams of Clay. “All I had to do was sign my name. My renter took care of the rest.”
WAP works hand-in-hand with contractors to identify the needs of applicants, and then carry them out. These improvements include things such as HVAC replacement and repair; air sealing; water heater replacement and repair; insulation; window and door replacement and repair; general electrical; plumbing; general repair and other related services.
AAA Insulation from Whitesville was dispatched to carry out the improvements to Ronemous’ home.
“We do 50 to 100 houses for Audubon Area every year,” said Tony Roby with AAA. “About ten years ago we answered an ad for a contractor, and we’ve been doing this ever since. Before that they were running their own crews, but decided to start subcontracting the work.”
Contractors who wish to work with WAP should contact Weatherization at (270) 686-1670 to answer a Request for Qualified Contractors (RQC). Respondents who meet the minimum qualifications will be placed onto the agency’s Approved Contractor Listing and will be eligible to bid on weatherization projects as they arise. This RQC does not guarantee that any goods or services will be purchased from respondents, nor that any contract will be awarded.
Any Webster County residents who wish to apply for the program should contact Caroline Frazier at 2270-639-5635.

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