Hill Secures Job-Creating Amendment to Home Star Bill

Language will provide down payment assistance to purchase new manufactured houses while creating jobs in a hard-hit industry

Washington, DC – May 7, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Baron Hill successfully secured an amendment to the Home Star Jobs Bill, which was passed with bipartisan support by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday evening, that will provide assistance to those living in older and unable-to-be updated manufactured houses to purchase new, energy-efficient ones. This helps Hoosiers in two important ways by replacing outdated homes (pre-1976) that cannot be weatherized, and creating a significant numbers of jobs in a hard-hit industry. In fact, the Systems Building Research Alliance estimates that Hill’s amendment will create more than 3,000 jobs in Indiana alone, and 50,000 nationwide.

“Replacing these units will stimulate widespread economic growth in terms of new jobs and community economic development as dilapidated structures are replaced with attractive, energy-efficient new homes that free up dollars once spent on high energy bills,” the Manufactured Housing Institute states in a letter of support of Hill’s amendment. “We have estimated that each new manufactured home adds more than one new U.S. job in home manufacturing and related construction and services. Qualifying households participating in the program will save an average of $1,800 per year in energy costs, savings that could be better applied to offsetting the new home monthly mortgage costs and therefore building equity.”

More than two million families nationwide live in manufactured homes built before 1976, when federal standards for manufactured housing construction quality and safety went into effect and long before energy-efficiency standards were established. The Manufactured Housing Institute has found that these homes waste so much energy they are actually less affordable to own than many new homes. And, the poor condition of the homes is such that the cost of energy upgrades often exceeds the value of the home. Hill’s amendment will provide applicable owners of pre-1976 manufactured homes up to $7,500 in down payment assistance to purchase an Energy Star qualified manufactured home or modular home.

“This program is an efficient and commonsense way to expand the energy-efficiency incentives in the weatherization and Home Star programs to those who would otherwise miss out,” Hill said. “It’s timely and targeted, and there is wide agreement among stakeholders that replacing these old homes both increases energy efficiency while creating jobs in both the manufacturing and construction fields. We received some good news today in that our economy added 290,000 jobs in April, but more must be done. And, measures like this one are aimed squarely at shoring up our manufacturing sector and creating more jobs, particularly back home in Indiana.”

Hill’s amendment was included in the Home Star Jobs Bill, H.R. 5019. This legislation features two levels of rebates that will help an estimated three million American homeowners. The Silver Star program would provide up-front rebates of up to $3,000 for the installation of proven energy-saving technologies, such as insulation, duct sealing, window and door improvements, air sealing, and advanced water heaters. The Gold Star program rewards homeowners with up to $8,000 for conducting a comprehensive energy audit and substantially reducing their energy use at home.

This bill also would boost our construction and manufacturing industries in the short term by creating jobs immediately. H.R. 5019 is projected to create 168,000 new jobs across America. More than 90% of the materials and products used in eligible measures are made in the U.S. In the long run, it will help rebuild the foundation of our economy by encouraging American innovation and entrepreneurship in the growing clean-energy industry.

“I was proud to support a bill that put American workers on jobs installing Made-in-America technology in our homes,” Hill said. “As I’ve said many times before, Southern Indiana possesses the natural resources, workforce and universities to be a leader in this field.”

The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act has received bipartisan support, and has been endorsed by a broad range of business, labor, environmental, and consumer groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Home Builders.

Contact:
Katie Moreau PHONE (202) 225-5315

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