Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

More MN Homes Could Benefit from Weatherization

Play

Friday, October 29, 2021   

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. -- Home weatherization programs for low-income households have come a long way, but federal funding has not always matched demand.

In Minnesota, community action agencies often oversee the assistance, and hope they can stretch their budgets further. The governor has declared tomorrow Weatherization Day for the state.

This year, there is a possibility of some extra federal attention, with the pending infrastructure bill poised to include ten times the funding weatherization programs usually get.

Laura Milbrandt, weatherization director for the Prairie Five Community Action Council in western Minnesota, said it could free up other money to help households address other glaring needs.

"Sometimes we get into the house and there are things we can't address, so we have to defer households," Milbrandt observed. "Some health and safety items, like major plumbing and major electrical, that we just... it's beyond the scope of what weatherization can fix."

And she pointed out they can reach more people who are not deemed a priority for traditional weatherization needs, like insulation and furnace repairs.

The agencies noted services have grown from mainly putting plastic on windows, to a scientific approach in protecting homes. The infrastructure bill in Congress was expected to include $3.5 billion for weatherization efforts.

Scott Zahorik, executive director of the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency in northern Minnesota, said there is a waiting list for weatherization. Should the extra funding come through, they can help many others reduce their energy-cost burden.

"There's a lot of single parents out there trying to raise their families," Zahorik explained. "We've got a lot of senior citizens on fixed incomes. And we can really make a life-changing difference in their home."

Local agencies are guided by Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP).

Annie Shapiro, advocacy director for MinnCAP's Resource Fund, said the funding boost would provide opportunities for growth and program innovation.

"To think of creative ways to weatherize some of the more multifamily housing buildings and units, which tend to be a bit more challenging," Shapiro suggested.

The state reported the program has reduced energy costs by an average of 15% in more than 49,000 Minnesota homes since 2005.

Disclosure: Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021