The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) reached an important milestone in June and weatherized over 30,000 homes with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, exceeding goals set for the Program by the Department of Energy (DOE).
WAP is also eighth of approximately 200 programs in number of jobs funded by ARRA for the second quarter of 2010, with nearly 13,000 green jobs created and retained in the Network.
ARRA provided $5 billion to the WAP over three years ? an unprecedented increase for a program typically funded around $225 million. The foreseen challenges ? mainly capacity building, including hiring and training many new workers, maintaining quality work, and procuring vehicles, equipment, and tools ? ended up not being the most difficult. Instead, unforeseen obstacles associated specifically with ARRA rules became apparent after ARRA enactment, such as the applicability of Davis-Bacon labor rates, the stipulation that any dwelling older than 50 years must be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) before weatherization could begin, and other state and local issues.
These challenges resulted in production delays in a majority of the states, with just slightly over 30,000 homes being weatherized with ARRA funding in 2009. Production in 2010 has steadily increased, with March through June numbers averaging around 25,000 units weatherized, and June exceeding 31,000 homes. WAP providers are confident that, in spite of the slow start, original ARRA goals will be met and exceeded.
The success of the WAP in overcoming early ARRA challenges and obstacles can be attributed to the partnerships between DOE, States, local agencies, and national partners who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the WAP performs at the highest possible level and meets the goals of the Obama Administration and ARRA. In addition to providing relief for low-income households on their energy bills and making their homes more comfortable, putting people back to work in well-paying green jobs, and reducing carbon emissions, WAP is envisioned as a gateway into the broader, green residential retrofit market for worker training and instituting technical standards and best practices.
The National Association for State Community Services Programs is a professional membership organization for the state and territorial administrators of the Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Department of Health and Human Services Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).
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