Uncategorized In the News: Weatherization leaves us cold

In the News: Weatherization leaves us cold


According to a report by the Indy Star published today, the administration’s plan to use private organizations for administering federal weatherization dollars has shown little progress in the first quarter.

Statistics from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, which administers the state’s program, show it’s off to a slow start.

The goal to weatherize 2,202 homes by Nov. 30 did not come close to hitting the mark, with only 403 completed. The result? Hundreds of Hoosiers’ homes remain unweatherized as wintry weather settles in, wasting energy and driving up power bills. Nearly 9,000 more homes are expected to be weatherized by May 31.

Local Community Action Programs (CAPs) traditionally manage the program available to low-income Hoosiers, but this year additional administrators were chosen. The changes in how the state traditionally manage the funds prompted review by the federal government, and ultimately caused a delay in the state receiving the stimulus funds.

More from the Indy Star story:

And, critics say, Hoosiers are paying for that now.

“It’s more than disappointing,” Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, said. “It’s harmful. It does great harm to Hoosiers all over the state of Indiana. We urged this administration to give the federal money to those local agencies who have been successful in the past, who have lots of experience getting the money distributed and getting homes weatherized. The governor insisted on bringing in new contractors and spending the money differently. And it’s failed.”

When the state handed the Indiana Builders Association the biggest share of the $132 million in federal stimulus contracts to weatherize homes, it expected work to be finished on 834 homes by the end of November.

It completed work on three.

In addition to the Indiana builders, the Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, which was awarded a contract for more than $5 million, was supposed to have completed 205 homes. It completed 15.

Some groups — all community action agencies with experience in weatherization and federal programs — have exceeded their goals. The Community Action Program of Western Indiana completed work on 57 homes, three more than its goal of 54 at the end of November. The South Central Community Action Program had completed work on 37 homes at the end of November, one more than its goal of 36. And the North Central Community Action Agency, with a goal of 11 homes, completed work on 12.

View a list [PDF] of weatherization administrators, how much they’ve received and how they’ve met their goals. (File obtained from the IndyStar website.)

Read the administration’s press release announcing the selection of weatherization administrators and the criteria by which they were chosen.