EICAP Gets Funding

A local nonprofit received $3 million for weatherization project assistance.

By Clark Corbin
Post Register
Printed on Thursday, May 28, 2009

The money couldn't be coming at a better time for Russ Spain.

As executive director of Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Spain monitors the wait list for weatherization assistance.

Dozens of Idaho Falls residents are on the list to get financial help for projects such as replacing faulty doors and windows and checking insulation levels.

The wait list is so long, it'll be a year or so before they'll be able to get some help. And the wait is more like three or four years in other eastern Idaho counties served by EICAP.

But a $3 million infusion of stimulus funds will help the nonprofit organization slash those delays and more than double the number of homes it upgrades for winter energy efficiency.

"It's absolutely going to make a big difference in what we do," Spain said.

The money is coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has already allowed EICAP to purchase about $100,000 in equipment -- trucks, trailers and testing gear -- and hire five additional employees.

EICAP regularly provides weatherization assistance to 200 homes a year within its nine-county service area.

The influx of funding will allow EICAP to tackle projects at 455 residences during each of the next two years, EICAP Weatherization Director Brad Simmons said.

"This is a good thing," Simmons said. "With our weatherization work, there have been a number of elderly people who have been able to stay in their homes because of the work we have done."

On average, a family's energy bill will be reduced by 20 percent after weatherization upgrades, Simmons said.

To qualify for assistance, a family of four would need to make less than $3,500 per month, before taxes.

The funds will cover projects this year and next, and as a condition for accepting the funds, the money needs to be spent by September 2010, Spain said.

Spain won't begin undertaking the extra projects until the funding arrives. That could happen as soon as June, Spain said.

"We're not going to start until we receive the dollars, but we're getting ramped up by buying equipment and hiring and training additional staff," he said.

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Need help?

Have questions about energy assistance or weatherization programs? Call the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership at 522-5391.