State gives TCOG extra funds for weatherization
By: Joshua Brumett – Herald Democrat
The Texoma Council of Governments heard some good news in their September Board meeting. The COG will receive an unexpected $157,818 of state money for their Weatherization Assistance Program.
“It’s going to allow us to do probably another 20 homes before the end of this year,” said Brenda Smith, energy services program manager at TCOG. “We are always tickled to death to be able to have more money to help serve more folks.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income households conserve electricity. Families at or below 125 percent of the poverty line can request help to apply insulation, fix drafts or even replace old heaters and air conditioners. Some weatherization programs across the state were unable to use all of their funding from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, so that money got moved around to the places that needed it most.
TCOG administers these services over a 19-county area. Around 120 houses are weatherized each year, and the current waiting list is 170 names long. “And we get new applications practically every week,” Smith said.
The extra funds will be a great help to the families waiting for assistance, said Smith. People struggling with poverty are hit hard by rising energy costs.
The extra funds will be a great help to the families waiting for assistance. – Brenda Smith, Energy Services Program Manager
“It means a whole lot,” Smith said. “We’ve had folks tell us that their energy cost has dropped by around 30 percent.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program did a lot for 70-year-old Denison resident Beverly Doty. When her husband left, she found herself having to make house and utility payments on a fixed income.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Doty. “I thought I was going to lose my home.”
Doty’s house was almost completely uninsulated, and she said she could feel cool breezes coming from outside. TCOG helped her insulate her drafty home, caulked cracks around the windows and doors, and replaced her gas heaters.
“In a home that’s never been insulated or has a lot of cracks, and you go in and do some weatherstripping and caulking and put in some insulation, it’s going to make a big difference in that home,” said Smith.
Doty agreed: the change is noticeable. “The bottom line is: This has saved a little bit of money on the utilities, but the difference is it’s real cozy and warm in here in the winter, and in the summer it’s nice and cool.”
“It’s also helped me realize that there are people who care about people in these circumstances,” Doty continued. “I never dreamt that the government could assist someone the way that they did for me. It’s a very heartwarming experience, that’s the only way that I can put it.”