I’m delighted to have the opportunity to wrap up 2016 and reflect on the accomplishments of NASCSP, our programs, and to address you, our members. As you saw in the message from our Executive Director, Jenae Bjelland, 2016 brought about a number of changes to the NASCSP staff, as well as a renewed call for mobilization and education resulting from the 2016 presidential election. As we look back on 2016, we are reminded that we have a lot to be proud of; and as we look forward to 2017, we recognize that the opportunities abound.
Elections held during the September 2016 NASCSP Annual Conference ushered in a new slate of executive board members, and I proudly accepted the nomination to serve as the President of the NASCSP Board for a two-year term. I have been a member of the NASCSP Board since 2010 serving as a regional representative, WAP Program Chair, Board Vice President, and now President. In my daily role at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development I oversee all the Department’s affordable housing development, finance and preservation programs, including the WAP. I have proudly served at the VA DHCD since February 2000.
The year 2016 marked the 40th Anniversary of the WAP. Since 1976 the WAP has weatherized over 7.4 million homes and counting, and operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 territories, and 3 Tribal Communities. For four decades the WAP has provided cost-effective energy savings to American families, led to important health and safety benefits, positively impacted the environment, and supported jobs and new technology.
In commemoration of the WAP’s 40th Anniversary, efforts took place at the federal, state, and local levels all across the country to highlight the impact of WAP not only on National Weatherization Day but throughout the year. I had the personal pleasure of participating in an event on Capitol Hill in September attended by Congressional Staffers and various members of the energy efficiency communities. Numerous events took place. State Proclamations were issued in several states, including Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Michigan, and my home state of Virginia. Community events at local community action agencies in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Ohio also highlighted the benefits and accomplishments of the program. The hard work of the dedicated professionals that administer the program, climb under homes, perform energy audits, and install weatherization measures cannot be overlooked or understated.
As the Program marks its 40th Anniversary, there is new emphasis and momentum to continue evaluating the program and identifying future means of innovation, renewables, Wx Plus Health, etc.
On the CSBG side, I recently had the pleasure of participating with other leaders from the Community Action Network and the Office of Community Services in a Visioning Lab sponsored by OCS, NASCSP and the Community Action Partnership. The purpose of the Visioning Lab was to explore and investigate what the Community Action Network needs from national leaders during this period of transition and change. It was an intense day and a half session of reflection, introspection, and visioning for the future direction of the Program that our respective organizations represent. There was a renewed focus on setting a unified vision for the Program’s future and enhancing our organizational partnerships. The group also explored challenges and opportunities presented by the new CSBG Performance Management Framework (local CSBG Organizational Standards, State and Federal Accountability Measures and ROMA Next Generation).
I look forward to working with all of you in 2017 to advance the mission of NASCSP, to receive your input and represent your interests as members, and to do everything I can to ensure the ongoing success of these programs that provide much needed resources and services to our clients.
Willie Fobbs, III
NASCSP Board President