Federal government releases remainder of $131.7 million grant
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – August 17, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Indiana’s innovative program to weatherize 20,000 homes using federal stimulus funds has reached its stride. Within the past three months, the state moved to ninth nationally in overall units completed and seventh in production per day.
The U.S. Department of Energy has now released the second half of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds for Indiana’s Home Energy Conservation Program (HEC). Indiana was the 49th state to receive approval for its program and is the 18th state to complete 30 percent of its production goal, which triggered the release of the remaining funds.
Indiana’s total appropriation is $131.7 million. That is a 1,000 percent increase over the state’s annual weatherization budget.
“We purposely spent time preparing for this program because we wanted to get it right. With 10 times the money of any previous year, we wanted to be ready for additional participants, complete additional contractor training, and put a centralized procurement and distribution procedure in place,” said Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman. “We’re glad we were careful because it is paying off. We’ve seen no formal reports of fraud or abuse, we’re stretching the dollars, and we’re becoming a national leader in producing energy efficient homes and generating cost savings for consumers.”
Through May, the last time federal statistics were available, Indiana averaged nearly 18 completions per production day (ranked seventh) and had completed 4,978 units (ranked ninth). The state has now completed 6,894 homes.
So far, Indiana has:
- Trained nearly 2,000 energy auditors and contractors.
- Added 10 new organizations to the provider network. Those entities have completed 49 percent of the weatherized homes. The 20 Community Action Program agencies have completed 51 percent.
- Implemented a centralized purchasing program to maximize return on investment. The system has saved $607,000 in materials costs, which means 121 more households will be weatherized.
- Limited the per unit allowance to $5,000 rather than the $6,500 allowable under federal guidelines.
- Indiana will serve 5,500 more households because of the savings from the cost of materials and the additional $1,500 per unit availability.
The Home Energy Conservation Program is administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. To qualify, household income must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Priority is given to elderly and disabled residents and families with children. Following an energy audit, residents may receive up to $5,000 in home energy improvements such as programmable thermostats, insulation, new furnaces or hot water heaters.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), chaired by Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, creates housing opportunity, generates and preserves assets, and revitalizes neighborhoods across Indiana. For more information, go to http://www.ihcda.in.gov/. For updates from Lt. Governor Skillman and the agencies she oversees, please sign up at http://www.lg.in.gov/.
Email: jkenworthy (at) lg.in (dot) gov