News Release 007

DNR visited St. Louis homeowner benefitting from Energize Missouri Homes and the Recovery Act Funding

DNR recognizes Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis for work completed to date

Volume 38-007 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Kerry Cordray
573-526-4220

ST. LOUIS, MO, JAN. 8, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today visited a St. Louis homeowner, Caron Cutak, whose St. Louis home is among the first of several in the state to be weatherized using funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DNR also recognized the weatherization work the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis is performing to improve Missouri's economic recovery.

The state of Missouri is administering $128 million in Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency improvements to homes of low-income families. The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis is one of the local weatherization agencies responsible for completing the weatherization projects in the St. Louis area. James H. Buford, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, joined staff from DNR at the event. The Urban League provided a tour of Cutak's home for a look at the type of energy-saving improvements being made, which includes replacing the furnace, sealing air leaks, and installing insulation to the attic, pipes and water heater.

"The work being completed at this home will improve the quality of life for Ms. Cutak and reduce her energy bills," said Mark N. Templeton, Director of the Department of Natural Resources. "DNR estimates more than 21,000 low-income families will also benefit from the funding as their homes are weatherized over the next three years, as well as employ Missourians who are completing the weatherization work."

"Energy savings at these homes keep our energy dollars in our state, our local communities and in the pockets of Missourians. They represent more jobs for additional crews and contractors hired to weatherize these homes," Templeton said. DNR awarded the funding to 18 agencies across Missouri to complete the weatherization projects. These agencies estimate the Recovery Act funding for the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance projects will result in approximately 220 additional jobs for Missouri.

Recent changes to the weatherization program make more Missouri households eligible for assistance and increase the amounts and kinds of measures that can be provided for each weatherized home. Income eligibility expanded from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. This means a family of four, which previously needed to make less than $31,800 annually to qualify, can now make $44,100 annually and will qualify.

The average expenditure limit per home also increased from $2,500 to $6,500. Energy-efficient improvements made to homes may include: reducing air leaks; increasing insulation in the walls, attic, floor and foundation; heating system "clean and tune", heating system repair and replacement; and minimal building envelope repairs.

Applicants may apply for assistance to the Urban League and to other agencies serving different areas of the state. A map of the agencies and the counties in their service areas is available on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wxmap.htm. Of those households that qualify, priority is given to the elderly, families with children and those with disabilities according to the federal program guidelines.

For more information on the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance program, visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wx.htm or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443.

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