$5 billion going towards weatherizing homes; East Texans benefit

By Donna McCollum - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - If weatherization could be as easy as opening an umbrella. That's the stunt that created a light moment in the office of the Greater East Texas Community Action (GETCA). A short relief for weatherization techs who are busy completing documentation.

"We go out and access the home and see what it needs," explained Shaun Dugan as he put together several follow up inspection packets. "Insulation, doors, windows..."

The techs want to be ready to spend three to five million dollars in stimulus money that's expected to arrive later this year.

"We're excited about it," smiled Karen Swenson, GETCA director. "We're looking forward to it."

Over 900 homeowners in a 10 county region are on the application list. Conditions are typical to the pictures of a Rusk County home that Ben Wallace brought out. The weatherization tech points to a door.

"A little spring is keeping that door shut," said Wallace. "It's not really latched to anything."

Unlike the new door that Debra Murphy now has. Her home was weatherized this year. She's cooler and not so hot over high utility bills.

"You hardly couldn't hold any air in here really," said Murphy.

She now has new flooring, holes in walls and ceilings repaired, a new air conditioner and refrigerator, windows and doors. Similar improvements will put contractors from Wood to San Jacinto counties to work during a time when construction is slow.

"We have in fact added additional contractors especially for heating and cooling components," explained Swenson. "It's a very important piece of this. Our existing contractors have added additional work crews."

Some government auditors worry the weatherization spending will be among the hardest to document. Community Action is confident.

"We understand the Department of Energy guidelines because we live by them everyday," said Swenson.

She expects the money to arrive sometime in September.

"I want to get as many applications processed as possible, so when the money arrives we can go to work," commented Swenson.

Community action is expecting for the first time ever to clean out their long weatherization wait lists. That means new applicants are welcomed. To get more information contact GETCA at 1-800-621-5746.

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