Higgins Announces Over $289 Million, Included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, is Available to Help New Yorkers With Home Weatherization
Congressman Joins Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo to Detail Record Level of Funding Available to Lower Home Energy Costs and Improve Efficiency
Washington, DC, April 14, 2022
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo, to announce over $289 million is available to New Yorkers through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in 2022, a monumental increase in federal funding to assist residents with home energy costs. By comparison, this is more funding than New York received over the last decade, and over 11 times the $25 million the state received for WAP in 2021.
“Western New York sees some extremely cold temperatures and our older housing stock leaves many residents with high energy costs just to keep their families safe and warm during the winter months,” said Congressman Higgins. “The Weatherization Assistance Program goes beyond heating assistance to provide long-term solutions that improve energy efficiency and deliver annual savings to residents. Many more people will be able to benefit thanks to this Infrastructure Law investment in the future of families and neighborhoods.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supported by Congressman Higgins, included $3.5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program; this is in addition to the $313 million for the Weatherization program in the 2022 budget. State allocation levels newly released by the U.S. Department of Energy, indicate New York State will receive a total of $289,714,086, the largest amount in the nation.
Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo is one of three agencies administering the Weatherization Assistance Program in Erie County on behalf of NYS Housing & Community Renewal and the partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.
Shyrl Duderwick, Executive Director at Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo said, “We are very excited with the news of increased funds. Recent changes to the "time limitations" on prior assistance changed at the federal level from "Prior to October 1994" to a more current "time frame" at 15 years no matter the date. Many prior assistance households can take advantage of new technology developed since 1994 and also reducing their carbon footprint. Updated "working Plans" are being revised to accommodate for new changes, especially for electrification of homes. These updated measures of weatherization application will also pertain to large multi-family buildings. Areas of modification with the increased funding will include, but not limited to: Davis-Bacon, Buy American, National Environmental Poly Act (NEPA), and Historic Preservation. The five-year plan for these funds is working through committees at the State level and from a local level, we have had the opportunity to reflect on all our local needs for our clients.”
Examples of modifications that might be provided through the Weatherization Assistance Program include: an energy audit, insulation, heating system repairs or replacement, sealing off air cracks to reduce heat loss, window/door repairs, efficient LED lighting, and refrigeration.
Weatherization Assistance Program funding is available to New Yorkers whose total household income is at or below 60% pf the state median income. If a member of the household receives benefits through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility may be automatic under the "Category Eligibility". WAP also prioritizes senior citizens, people with disabilities, families with children and high-energy users. Below are the current income qualification thresholds:
New York State estimates over 122,000 households in Erie County and more than 28,000 in Niagara County will be income-eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program. Eligibility guidelines are updated each fall.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), residents who participate in the Weatherization Assistance Program save on average $372 each year on energy costs. The DOE reports that for every dollar invested in weatherization, $1.72 is generated in energy benefits and $2.78 in health and safety benefits.
This announcement builds on the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funding Congressman Higgins authorized through the American Rescue Plan, which delivered $4.5 billion for HEAP nationwide. The 2022 federal budget includes an additional $3.4 billion for HEAP this year.
More information on the Weatherization Assistance Program is available at: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wap/weatherization-assistance-program.