Affordability is not limited to only the cost of housing. It also encompasses the expenses associated with operating a home. One of the largest of those expenses is heating and cooling.
One way of lessening that burden is participation in Virginia's Weatherization Assistance Program. As part of a national effort, it is designed to help low-income residents lower energy costs.
On April 12, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-8) visited the home of a working mother, with three children, and her disabled husband in the Fairfax County Hybla Valley area of his district to gain first hand knowledge of the program's advantages. "With gas and oil prices going through the roof, people's wallets are being hit hard as they try to provide for their families," Moran said.
The demonstration took place at the home of Rachelle Greene, the sole supporter of the couple's three children, where energy costs had been mounting due to an outdated central heating system. The home is currently heated by a combination of cooking stove and portable heaters. Both of which increase fire hazards.
Greene contacted the state Weatherization Program and was granted assistance including the installation of a new furnace and stove, insulation, and the sealing of air leaks.
Upon completion, Greene is expected to save approximately 26 percent on her monthly energy bills.
Staff from the Community Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC), the Northern Virginia Weatherization service provider, has done all the work at the residence as well as instructing Greene on ways to save additional energy, according to Moran.
"This local-state-federal partnership brings low-income families in Virginia and across the nation life saving assistance," Moran said. The program is funded by Congress through the U.S. House of Representative Appropriations Committee of which Moran is a senior member.
Program funds are provided to the U.S. Department of Energy which makes grants to the states, according to Moran's office. Virginia's Weatherization Program operates through the state Department of Housing and Community Development in conjunction with CHPC.
State directors of this program and the Community Services Block Grant Program are represented by the National Association for State Community Services Programs. "As we head into the summer months,
the Weatherization Assistance Program will continue to help low-income families save money on their cooling costs," said Connie
Greer, chair, NASCSP.
"We are delighted with the work of Virginia's Weatherization staff at both the state and local levels. And, the leadership of Congressman Moran demonstrated here today in publicly supporting this program will serve as an example across the country," Greer said.