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The 2019 presidential budget proposal has been released and, once again, the Trump Administration proposed to eliminate the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). A program proven to cut energy bills and improve health for our country's poorest families.

"Because of the Weatherization Assistance Program, thirty-eight thousand family homes will be weatherized this year, keeping each family warmer, healthier and safer," noted David Bradley, CEO of the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF), which represents most of the nonprofit agencies at work in local communities. Bradley went on to say, "Congress will not accept the President's elimination of this program. The Weatherization Assistance Program is proven, effective policy and has broad bipartisan support."

Each federal dollar spent on the Weatherization program was matched by about two dollars of private money and state matching funds. KCEOC Community Action Partnership’s Weatherization Program reduces energy bills of Knox County residents by an average of 20 to 30 percent. Moreover, the Weatherization Assistance Program reduces health care costs for both program participants and insurers by improving family health outcomes primarily through the reduction of severity in respiratory conditions.

The WAP was first authorized by Congress in 1976 to address high energy costs.  Since then, the program has created a market for building science-driven energy efficiency technologies and services.  Families with elderly or disabled members, or with children, are priorities. KCEOC focuses on homes with high energy use or high energy bills relative to income.

Each year, KCEOC weatherizes over 30 homes in Knox County. Without the Weatherization funding not only will low-income families struggle with paying their utility bills, but also the health and safety of the elderly, children, and low-income families will be at stake. After her home was Weatherized by KCEOC, Karen Frederick said, “I no longer have to worry about keeping my home warm for my daughter, grandchildren, and myself.” Karen, like many others, is thankful for the program and how it changed her life, health, and safety. You can read Karen’s story, and others, by visiting kceoc.org.

"The DOE program is critical to the weatherization effort along with Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program transfer funds and local utilities funding," said Paul D Dole, of the KCEOC Community Action Partnership.  "The Weatherization Program is critical for people to reduce their utility bills and lessen the need for other assistance in having safe living conditions. The staff that perform the necessary measures are highly trained and have received appropriate certifications. We don’t need to go back to the time when people just put plastic over their windows to keep some of the cold out. "