State recommends increased funding for SCCAP to expand its service area for weatherization of homes with stimulus money

May 20, 2010

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority is recommending that SCCAP receive $1,729,957 in the second round of ARRA Weatherization funding to serve Brown, Monroe and Owen counties.

This funding, which still has to be approved by IHCDA’s Board of Directors, would allow an expansion of the number of homes and counties that SCCAP weatherizes with these Recovery Act funds. During the first round of funding, SCCAP received $899,000 to make energy efficiency improvements to 145 homes in Monroe County. SCCAP had applied to serve Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties in the first round of funding, but was approved to serve only Monroe County.

The $1.7 million in second-round funding would allow SCCAP to make energy efficiency improvements to 275 homes in Brown, Owen and Monroe counties. This would include 55 homes in Brown County, 152 in Monroe County and 68 in Owen County.     

IHCDA’s Round 2 recommendations  for organizations across the state are provided below. There will be a public hearing at IHCDA at 9 a.m. on May 27 to discuss these recommendations. Public comments are currently being accepted and can be emailed to iwx@ihcda.in.gov or may be sent to Chelsey Wininger’s attention at IHCDA.

Respondent Amount Awarded
Action, Inc. of Delaware and Grant Counties $800,000
Affordable Housing Corporation of Marion $349,000
Area IV Agency on Aging $1,074,188
Community Action of Northeast Indiana $2,888,750
Community Action of Southern Indiana $1,005,000
Community Action Program of Western Indiana $2,252,509
Community Action Program of Evansville $1,235,000
Community and Family Services, Inc. $978,359
Tri-Cap $1,928,825
Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Co-op $5,815,569
Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corp. $1,007,000
Housing Opportunities of Warsaw $645,656
Human Services, Inc. $1,216,740
Indiana Builders Association $22,255,576
Interlocal Community Action Program $754,461
Lincoln Hills Development Corporation $1,271,781
JobSource $349,990
Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corp. $300,000
Miami County YMCA $1,096,095
North Central Community Action Agencies $832,000
Northwest Indiana Community Action Agency $4,055,920
Ohio Valley Opportunities $1,471,277
Pace Community Action Agency $863,741
People Working Cooperatively $1,656,808
REAL Services $3,268,119
Sheet Metal Industry Admin. Services $0
South Central Community Action Program $1,729,957
Southeast Indiana Economic Opportunities Corp. $320,000
Southeast Neighborhood Development $330,000
Western Indiana Community Action Agency $861,840
Westside Community Development Corp. $250,000
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. $600,000
Total $63,464,161

Section 8 still adding, has given 72 new vouchers since fall

February 10, 2010

The Section 8 waitlists for Owen and Brown counties were opened Jan.25 and 29, respectively, and all 50 slots were filled in both counties–but Section 8 action is not over yet.

Each county is immediately pulling the first 25 applicants from its list based on ranking.

Even so, SCCAP Director of Operations Chris Myers said this does not exhaust the waitlists in these counties. The remaining applicants—numbers 26-50 based on the state’s ranking—will have to wait until they pull again or until some of the previous pulls do not make it to a housing contract.

Myers said they have been able to give 72 new vouchers to applicants based on the waitlist pulls from this fall, and she said Section 8 is looking to add an additional 75 slots at least. They may even open the Monroe county waitlist again.

“I work these waitlist openings with our local staff, and it’s at those moments that you realize how great the need is for individuals,” Myers said. “People are willing to wait overnight or hours before the doors open, simply for the chance at getting assistance.”

Once pulled from the waitlist, individuals wait a couple of weeks for paperwork and verification to come through before receiving a voucher. After receiving the voucher, they have up to 60 days to locate a suitable living unit.


Duke Energy offers Helping Hand Program

October 29, 2009

Again this year, Duke Energy is offering its Helping Hand Program through SCCAP and other community action agencies to assist elderly and disabled low-income customers.

SCCAP will receive $50,700 this winter to assist these Duke Energy customers in our service area. Besides being a Duke Energy customer, clients must meet the state’s 150 percent of poverty guidelines and be over 60 years of age and/or disabled to receive assistance through these funds.


Updates from the SCCAP Central Staff meeting

October 21, 2009

In an effort to keep people who are interested in the South Central Community Action Program updated on the agency’s latest news, we’ve started providing some notes from the Central Staff meeting that’s held every other Tuesday. Here are this week’s updates:

  • Indiana is the only state in the country that hasn’t yet had its plan for use of additional Community Services Block Grant funds from the Recovery Act approved by the federal government. It appears that once the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approves the plan from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, SCCAP will receive about $647,000 in additional CSBG funds to serve people in poverty.
  • SCCAP’s offices in Bloomington, Martinsville, Nashville and Spencer have been extremely busy with people seeking energy assistance and with people who have moved to the top of our Section 8 wait list and are in the process of being approved to receive their vouchers for housing subsidies. The staff members working in those programs are doing their best to help people as quickly as they can, but applicants are still having to wait in line for service because so many people are needing help. SCCAP has served 1,208 people through its Energy Assistance Program since its winter program began on Oct. 1. Energy Assistance Program Coordinator Mary Zimmerman described it as a very busy, very stressful time for those working in the EAP program. Read the rest of this entry »

Updates from the Central Staff Meeting

October 7, 2009

In an effort to keep everyone who’s interested up to date on the latest South Central Community Action Program news, here are some notes from this week’s Central Staff Meeting:

EAP OFF TO A FAST START: As this winter’s Energy Assistance Program officially began Monday, SCCAP’s staff had already approved 770 Energy Assistance applications that were submitted by mail. The EAP staff in our four-county service area worked hard to get as many applications as possible approved quickly so that low-income households will receive energy assistance as soon as possible. It generally takes 6o to 90 days after SCCAP approves an energy assistance application before a client receives assistance.

Since the winter program began Monday, the EAP staff has been busy with a steady stream of clients. At times, we’ve had almost an overflow crowd in the Monroe County SCCAP office with more applicants in our waiting area than available chairs. After having a 10 percent increase in our number of clients with 5,209 in this program last year, we’re expecting another increase this year. 

WEATHERIZATION GETTING IT DONE: The Weatherization program has closed out its FY 08-09 LIHEAP grant by the deadline of Sept. 30 with more than 100 homes receiving energy efficiency improvements. That’s more than the quota of homes required of SCCAP by the State. Weatherization also spent all of the money in its LIHEAP grant, as required. The FY 09-10 grant will be $466,000, which doesn’t include the additional Weatherization money received this year through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

SOME ON SECTION 8 WAIT LIST TO RECEIVE VOUCHERS BEFORE TOO LONG: Following the recent openings of SCCAP’s Section 8 wait list in three counties, Section 8 Coordinator Kathleen Edwards is pulling the applications of those near the top of the wait list in all four counties who will receive Section 8 rental housing subsidy vouchers if they are determined to be eligible for the program. Some of those who are on the wait list have been on there for two years or more, so it will be a big moment when they are approved for a voucher to subsidize their rent.        

CIRCLES TO CREATE EMERGENCY FUND: The Circles Initiative has been working on the creation of an emergency fund to be used when Circle Leaders experience problems such as car repairs or housing issues that could become barriers to their progress in making the transition out of poverty. Operation of this fund is expected to be underway within a couple of weeks.    

HEAD START IS LOOKING FOR NEW SITE: With the recent approval of a federal grant to add two new classrooms and expand the number of slots for children to attend Head Start year-round, SCCAP is looking for an additional Head Start site. One of the site for the year-round program will be at the Walnut Woods site, off of East Miller Drive.  The other site has not yet been identified.  

SPANISH CLASSES START TONIGHT: To increase the number of bilingual staff at SCCAP, the Head Start program has put together a weekly Spanish class that will be offered at the agency, starting tonight, for staff who have signed up to participate.

CULTURE TEAM EVENTS AHEAD: The SCCAP Culture Team has put together a staff book sale that will be held the last week in October. Books will cost up to $1. You will be able to turn in 10 of your old books for a $1 credit, so that we can all have some free or low-cost books to read as winter approaches. Also, the team has planned an SCCAP Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime on Nov. 16. The agency will provide the turkey for that celebration, while staff will provide the side dishes. We’ll have more information soon about the book sale and the Thanksgiving meal.


On the Air with Lare

October 3, 2009

SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare will be a guest on Glass in the Morning on WGCL 1370 AM this Tuesday, Oct. 6, at about 8:08 a.m. Todd will be talking about the winter Energy Assistance Program that starts Monday.


Energy Assistance Program for low-income households starts Oct. 5

October 2, 2009

Help with winter fuel bills will be available for households in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties starting on Oct. 5.

On that day, the South Central Community Action Program will begin taking appointments for a winter heating benefit through its Energy Assistance Program.

While elderly or disabled applicants and those with children or in imminent danger of disconnection will have priority for the first two weeks, potential applicants of all ages are encouraged to schedule an appointment at any time by calling the SCCAP office in their county.

The agency will also begin taking applications for low-income households in need of bulk fuel.

In addition, SCCAP will offer its energy education workshop for those who want to participate. Participants will receive an energy conservation kit, as well as information on staying warm while trying to reduce utility costs.

Each household applying for the Energy Assistance Program will need to provide income documentation for the past 12 months for all household members ages 18 and older, current heat and electric bills, social security cards and lease information for those who rent.

Last winter, 5,209 households received assistance through SCCAP’s Energy Assistance Program. 

SCCAP is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for low-income citizens to move toward personal and economic independence. Its programs include: Affordable Rental Housing, the Circles Initiative, Energy Assistance, Family Development, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts, Section 8 Housing and Weatherization.

For appointments or additional information, the public should call:

Monroe County 339-3447; Morgan County 342-1518; Owen County 829-2279; Brown County 988-6636


SCCAP to open Section 8 wait list in 2009

September 14, 2009

The South Central Community Action Program will open its wait lists for Section 8 housing vouchers for rental subsidies to add 114 households in Brown, Monroe and Owen counties. 

SCCAP will add households to the wait list in each county on a first-come, first-served basis. It will add 22 households in Brown County, 70 in Monroe County and 22 in Owen County.

Staff will be taking pre-applications in the three counties at the following times and locations: (1) Owen County applications – Spencer office, 145 N. Harrison St., on Sept. 17, 2009 from 8 to noon and Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 from 1 to 4 p.m., (2) Brown County applications – Nashville office, 168 Jefferson Street, on Sept. 23, 2009 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sept. 24, 2009 from 8 to noon and (3) Monroe County applications, Bloomington office, 1500 W. 15th St., on Sept. 30 from 8 to noon and Oct. 1, 2009 from 1 to 4 p.m. SCCAP will stop taking applications for the vouchers once the wait list is full.

It will be the first time in more than five years that SCCAP has added households to its wait list in Monroe County. It has been three years in Owen County and two years in Brown County since households have been added to the wait list.

Section 8 is a program in which approved low-income households are given a voucher to find housing on their own. They pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income toward their rent and utilities, and the federal government pays the rest.

“We are very pleased that for the first time in the recent past, we are able to add people to our list for this affordable housing program,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “With the economic recession we are in, this assistance is needed now more than ever.”

To submit a complete application, each applicant must bring: picture ID, social security card, birth certificate, proof of income (i.e. paystubs, letters from employers, TANF/SSI/Social Security award letters), transcript for adult students, and checking and savings account information. 

All Section 8 applicants must meet income guidelines that are based on the size of the household. For questions, call 829-2279 in Owen County, 988-6636 in Brown County and 339-3447 in Monroe County.

SCCAP is a nonprofit organization that serves low-income citizens in Owen, Brown, Monroe and Morgan counties. Its services include Affordable Rental Housing, Circles Initiative, Client Advocacy, Energy Assistance, Family Development, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts to accumulate savings, Section 8 Housing and Weatherization.


Remembering the flood and the lives it changed

June 10, 2009

UPDATE (6/11): We’ve got another account of the flood and the ensuring clean-up effort today from SCCAP Maintenance Manager Edward Pate. Thanks, Edward! Please give it a read in the comments section of our previous post asking for flood stories.

UPDATE (6/10): We just received another personal account of the flood and its aftermath from SCCAP Operations Manager Chris Myers, who writes about fighting the flood damage on two fronts – at home in Brown County and at work at our washed-out office in Martinsville. She points out that all four counties that SCCAP serves are still feeling the flood’s impact a year later. Her account is provided in what’s currently the last comment in our previous post asking for flood stories. Like the earlier comments we received, it’s definitely worth a read. 

———————

In response to our invitation last week for people to share their memories of last year’s flood and their thoughts on its lasting impact, we received a number of poignant stories. You can read them all in the comments at the bottom of the post linked here.

Here’s the latest comment, posted today by Diane Jendrek, who writes about her cousin, Brian. When you think about Brian’s situation, and about many other people in our area facing similar situations over the past year, you get an idea of just how devastating this flood was to people’s lives.    

Thanks to Diane and everyone else who have shared your stories and thoughts about last year’s disaster.   

“The devastation of the flood occurred in the dark of night and almost too quickly for some to comprehend what was happening to them. My cousin, Brian, who lived in Martinsville, was awakened by his cat who had jumped into bed with him to escape the rising waters. When Brian sat up he was in water already to his knees. By the time he was able to get out of the house it had risen to shoulder height. Brian manage to get himself and the cats to higher ground and safety.

“He lost everything in the flood. His home was condemned with severe structural damage and his vehicles were total losses. Just 3 weeks ago he was able to move into a new home of his own. The last year was spent with insurance forms, endless piles of paperwork, disappoints,tribulations and the frustrations of countless deadlines to meet as he dealt with FEMA and other agencies trying to help him move forward with his life. The effects and memories of the events of that one dark night will be with Brian for the rest of his life.”


WFHB Radio reports on Weatherization funding

June 8, 2009

SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare was interviewed last week about Indiana’s plans for use of Weatherization stimulus money.  Those plans include providing stimulus funding to weatherize homes in Brown, Morgan and Owen counties to two new providers, Hoosier Energy and the Indiana Builder’s Assocation, instead of SCCAP, which has served those counties for many years.

You can listen to the news report with Todd’s comments on WFHB’s Web site by clicking here.


Summer Cool underway

June 1, 2009

Today was the first day that clients could submit applications for this year’s Summer Cool Program.

That, as expected, made for a busy day for the Energy Assistance staff at SCCAP’s offices in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties. The Bloomington office, for instance, received more than 100 applications Monday.

Last year, SCCAP provided assistance with summer electric bills to 2,116 low-income households.


Highlights of testimony on Indiana’s proposed use of CSBG stimulus funds

June 1, 2009

Provided below are more excerpts from the testimony provided by Community Action representatives at last Thursday’s public hearings at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

These comments address the state’s plan for use of Community Service Block Grant stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Action of 2009.  

Read the rest of this entry »


Highlights of today’s Weatherization public hearing

May 28, 2009

Over the next couple of days, we’ll provide reports here on Thursday’s public hearings at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to discuss our state’s plans for use of Weatherization and Community Service Block Grant stimulus funds.  

Provided below are some of the highlights of today’s testimony from Indiana Community Action representatives regarding the state’s plan for allocating about $55 million in Weatherization stimulus funds to be used by 30 organizations over the next program year to create jobs, lower monthly heating and electric bills for low-income families, help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon emissions.

Just after hearing the comments below in a public hearing, the IHCDA board quickly passed the state plan with few questions and little discussion from the board members. The next step for Indiana’s plan is for it to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Energy.      

Selected highlights of testimony from Todd Lare, South Central Community Action Program, located in Bloomington, serving Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties:

“My organization has been granted funding for only 1 of the 4 county region we traditionally serve.  Indeed, we have only been proposed to be awarded $899,373 of the $2,613,105 originally advertised for our region, or 34.4% of what has been requested.  The 24 current sub grantees requested $56,294,639 and were awarded $23,754,250, or 42% of the funding available.  Newly proposed sub grantees requested $61,267,405 and were awarded $31,260,370.50 or 51% of the amount they requested.  Newly proposed sub grantees were awarded 57% of the $55,014,620.50 awarded during this first cycle.  That for just 10 new sub grantees.  The other 24 collectively received less funding than the newly chosen 10 sub grantees.

Two new sub grantees received the largest amount awarded to any sub grantee, new or existing.  The Indiana Builders Association received $20,725,963.50 or 38% of the entire amount awarded.  This award is made to an organization whose annual revenue in 2007 was $1,404,341 according to their 990 tax return.  In 2006, they had gross receipts of $1,264,077 and in 2005 they reported $1,196,835.  So, the decision was made to award the largest amount to an inexperienced provider in these programs, the largest amount totaling 15 times their annual revenue for the year 2007.  This, to an organization whose primary mission is “the education of construction and home building industry by conducting conventions and seminars using resources by members” according to that tax return. 

The second largest new sub grantee, Hoosier Energy, received $5,094,541 or 9% of the funding made available.  This organization is much larger, boasting a 2008 total revenue of $566 million and total assets of $1.2 billion.  While this is remarkable, it seems wild that an organization of this immense size would compete with local nonprofits that have been operating these programs for more than 30 years, yet would have so little staff trained in this process.  It is my understanding that collectively, Hoosier Energy has had 3 staff members trained in DOE weatherization prior to this process. 

In my four-county region, the Indiana Builders Association was awarded Owen County while Hoosier Energy was awarded Morgan and Brown counties.  Title 10, Section 440.15 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that “The subgrantee’s experience in assisting low-income persons in the area to be served” be used in the approval criteria.  I would question the experience of both entities in providing weatherization services to residents of these counties.  There is no Indiana Builders Association presence in Owen County, as they are served out of the Monroe County office. Our organization does maintain an office in Spencer and has served the area in this program for decades.  In Morgan and Brown counties, while a member of the Hoosier Energy association, a rural electric cooperative maintains a presence in Morgan County and also serves Brown County, I am unaware of any other local presence or connection to the low-income community.  Our organization maintains offices in both Martinsville and Nashville and has operated a variety of low-income programs in this area for more than 40 years.

Finally, the selection criteria found in 10 CFR, Part 440.15 gives clear preference to those who are currently operating weatherization programs.  It states, “In selecting a sub grantee, preference is given to any CAA or other public or nonprofit entity which has, or is currently administering, an effective program under this part or under title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, with program effectiveness evaluated by consideration of factors including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • The extent to which the past or current program achieved or is achieving weatherization goals in a timely fashion;
  • The quality of work performed by the sub grantee;
  • The number, qualifications, and experience of the staff members of the sub grantee; and
  • The ability of the sub grantee to secure volunteers, training participants, public service employment workers, and other Federal or State training programs.”

I believe that Indiana’s selection process does not abide by these expectations given the fact that one NEW provider is given more money than most of the other 24 current sub grantees combined.  We attempted to determine the criteria used in scoring the proposals and to obtain a copy of all proposals submitted so that we could testify on them at this hearing.  The public records request was submitted by the Indiana Community Action Association on May 19, 2009.  The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) has responded that additional communications may be received on or before May 29, conveniently one day after this public hearing.  Scoring criteria has been added to the IHCDA website in the last few days, and that had not previously been made available.  With the lack of individual scores, however, this information is useless, other than to show that experience in operating this program was a low consideration.  That is born out by the fact that 4 existing providers received no funding, 3 existing providers received what they asked for and most of the rest received somewhere between 30 and 50% of the funding available and requested.    I would ask the Department of Energy to deeply scrutinize the scoring of these applications and reject this seemingly flawed process.

Two new potential grantees were awarded funding despite the fact that they are non-Indiana companies.  People Working Cooperatively is a Cincinnati, OH based organization with no local ties and experience working in the territory assigned to them while the existing sub grantee was given no funding.  This Ohio Company, a newly proposed sub grantee was given nearly $2 million of stimulus funding meant for Indiana.  The second company, Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  They were given more than $1 million for work in Marion County and the existing sub grantee was given zero funding.  Page 4-3 of the original RFP issued by IHCDA stated that businesses must be incorporated and located in the State of Indiana.  While both are licensed to do business in Indiana, neither is corporately based in Indiana, and are listed as foreign corporations with the Indiana Secretary of State.  While the Wisconsin company does have a physical presence in Indiana, I do not believe that People Working Cooperatively does.  Awarding funding to non-Indiana companies flies in the face of the intended purpose of this funding and does not align with other policies to buy Indiana supported by the administration, especially when existing providers have been provided no funding in areas they have served for years, and are currently serving using regular DOE funding.

One has to assume that existing sub grantees are performing adequately if they were fully funded beginning April 1, 2009 under the non-ARRA DOE grant and were not on a performance improvement plan (PIP) through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.  Our agency was funded during the current DOE grant cycle, closed out the prior DOE funding cycle having spent more than 99% of the funding awarded, and we are not now, nor have we ever been under a PIP for weatherization services.  So, today I am left to draw on the only conclusion left, that this selection process was flawed, deeply political and should be rejected by the Department of Energy regulators upon submission.  This fact can only be born out by the delivery of all relevant records requested under Indiana public access laws and by deep scrutiny by the federal department.

I believe the process followed during the past several months has been much less than transparent and the planning far short of inclusive.  The RFP issued did not detail how proposals would be scored and how existing providers would be given preference, as required by DOE regulations.  Instead of working together to determine the best plan for accomplishing the goals set forth on the national level, we have had to try to guess how to be in the best position to move quickly if selected.  If existing providers were used, we could have been a lot further along in the joint planning process and would have, at the very least, been able to talk through the points I have made during my public testimony. 

Nonetheless, I thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony today and would ask that it be included in its entirety in the public comment forwarded to the Department of Energy for consideration with the Indiana state plan, though I would urge the Department of Energy to reject Indiana’s initial submission due to the problems noted earlier in my presentation.”

Selected highlights of testimony from Larry Kleeman, executive director of Lincoln Hills Development Corporation, a community action agency located in Tell City, serving Crawford, Perry and Spencer counties:

“The proposed plan eliminates Spencer County from our service area. The request for proposal issued by IHCDA allocated funds for Crawford County in the amount of a little over $380,000, Perry County a little bit over $768,000 and Spencer County a little over $380,000. Lincoln Hills Development Corporation has served these three counties as a community action agency since 1965, including Weatherization since 1976. We responded to the request for proposal with a proposal requesting the full amount of $1.5 million allocated for these three counties. We’re included in the proposed state plan with an award of a little over $971,000 to serve Crawford and Perry counties only. . .

Why was Spencer County removed from our service area and awarded to Hoosier Energy? We believe this decision is contrary to Department of Energy regulations and policies for the following reasons: The PRISM results for Spencer County for the period of April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007 reflect that of the six homes weatherized in which pre- and post-data was gathered, one house saved 29 therms of energy, one house reduced natural gas usage by 35 percent and one house reduced electric usage by 25 percent. Data on the other three homes was difficult to obtain and analyze due to various reasons. However on 50 percent of the homes measured, where the data was sufficient and analyzed, there were savings achieved through weatherization.    

To the best of my knowledge, Hoosier Energy has never Weatherized a home in Spencer County, but if they have, what are the results and was this the basis for awarding Spencer County to Hoosier Energy rather than us?  

Finally, LHDC has served Spencer County continuously for 44 years, including since 1976 in Weatherization. One-third of our local board of directors are residents and represent Spencer County. We have facilities located in Rockport, the county seat, and Dale, while to the best of my knowledge, Hoosier Energy has no local offices in Spencer County. During this past energy assistance season, we served 542 households in Spencer County and of those households, only 98, or 18 percent, were customers of Hoosier Energy. Hoosier Energy does not serve the cities and towns of Chrisney, Dale, Grandview, Rockport and Santa Claus in Spencer County. With such a limited presence in the county, what was the rationale for Indiana Housing to award Spencer County to Hoosier Energy?”  

Selected highlights of testimony from Kathryn Williams, Indiana Community Action Association:

“The Indiana Community Action Association represents the 24 Community Action Agencies that provide services in all 92 Indiana counties.  These services include the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program.

All 24 Community Action Agencies have responded to the Request for Proposals for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Weatherization funds. Twenty of the Community Action Agencies were selected for funding.  Forty-four percent of the ARRA funds were allocated in the state plan to Community Action Agencies and 56 percent of the funds were allocated to organizations that are not within the Community Action Agency network. 

The Community Action Agency network within Indiana has operated the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) since its inception.  The Indiana program is held in high regard by the U. S. Department of Energy and by other programs around the country.  Indiana is consistently viewed as the exemplary model by other states wanting to design training programs, look at the value of certification of employee skills, determine the feasibility of conducting PRISM evaluation of homes weatherized, and to employ many other positive aspects of Indiana’s program.  The Community Action network has worked closely with the Indiana agency that has been the funding channel for this program, with a focus on developing and delivering a program of which we all can be proud.

“The U. S. Department of Energy regulations governing the ARRA Weatherization Assistance Program provide guidance to states on priorities to be considered when allocating these funds.  These regulations state that all funding used to conduct weatherization activities must be distributed by states to entities in accordance with the federal WAP statute and regulations governing selection of subgrantees.  These subgrantees must be Community Action Agencies(CAA) or other public or nonprofit entities.  In selecting a subgrantee, preference must be given to any CAA or other public or nonprofit entity which has, or is currently administering, an effective program under this part or under title II of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 [Community Action Program], with program effectiveness evaluated by consideration of factors including the following:

  • The extent to which the past or current program achieved or is achieving weatherization goals in a timely fashion;
  • The quality of work performed by the subgrantee;
  • The number, qualifications, and experience of the staff members of the subgrantee; and
  • The ability of the subgrantee to secure volunteers, training participants, public service employment workers, and other federal or state training programs.

The final selection of each subgrantee must be made on the basis of public comment received during the public hearing and findings regarding:

  • The subgrantee’s experience and performance in weatherization or housing renovation activities; 
  • The subgrantee’s experience in assisting low-income persons in the area to be served; and
  • The subgrantee’s capacity to undertake a timely and effective weatherization program.

The allocation of funds by IHCDA appears to be inconsistent with these regulations which require a preference for Indiana CAAs who already administer an effective and respected weatherization program, and who clearly possess experience performing weatherization activities and assisting low-income persons in the areas to be served. We encourage IHCDA and the U. S. Department of Energy to give this disparity serious scrutiny.”


Testimony for CSBG Stimulus Public Hearing

May 27, 2009

Here is the testimony Todd Lare has prepared for Thursday morning’s Community Services Block Grant public hearing in Indianapolis.

Testimony provided by: Todd Lare, Executive Director, South Central Community Action Program, Inc.

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2009 

My name is Todd Lare and I serve as Executive Director of South Central Community Action Program, Inc., providing services in Brown, Morgan, Monroe and Owen counties.  We are extremely pleased that Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) was included in the stimulus funding received in Indiana and anxiously await our opportunity to use it to make a difference in the communities we serve.  I appreciate the opportunity to offer comments at today’s public hearing.

Federal guidance with regard to CSBG funds mandated that 99% of funding be passed directly to community action agencies to be used in the same myriad of ways that our normal allocation of CSBG funding is used.  But, allocation methods used, as per the guidance should also be the same as normal.  Section 42 United States Code 9908(b)(8) says that, “any eligible entity in the State that received funding in the previous fiscal year through a [CSBG] grant …  will not have its funding terminated … or reduced below the proportional share of funding the entity received in the previous fiscal year unless, after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the record, the State determines that cause exists for such termination or such reduction, subject to review by the [HHS] Secretary.” 

Read the rest of this entry »


Testimony for Weatherization Stimulus Public Hearing

May 27, 2009

Provided below is the testimony that South Central Community Action Program Executive Director Todd Lare has prepared for Thursday morning’s public hearing in Indianapolis. That hearing will be the Weatherization Stimulus Public Hearing #2.

Testimony provided by: Todd Lare, Executive Director, South Central Community Action Program, Inc.

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2009

My name is Todd Lare and I serve as Executive Director of South Central Community Action Program, Inc., providing services in Brown, Morgan, Monroe and Owen counties.  We have served as a sub grantee to the State of Indiana since 1977 for weatherization services.  We are an applicant under the RFP issued by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.  I appreciate the opportunity to offer comments at today’s public hearing.

Read the rest of this entry »


Public hearing Thursday on Weatherization funding for SCCAP and other organizations

May 26, 2009

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority will hold a public hearing this Thursday, May 28, to take comments on the selection and capacity of the subgrantees IHCDA has chosen to implement the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program.

These subgrantees are slated to receive funds created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to stimulate the national economy.

The public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. at the IHCDA office at 30 Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

The South Central Community Action Program is one of the grantees the state has tentatively approved for funding. In the IHCDA state plan that was made public last week, SCCAP was approved to receive $899,373 in stimulus funds to provide weatherization of homes in Monroe County.

SCCAP had applied for a total of $2,613,105 to provide weatherization in Monroe, Brown, Owen and Morgan counties, but the state plan awarded the funding for Brown, Owen and Morgan counties to other organizations.

You can check out the recommended funding level for each applicant by clicking on the following link: state plan

Weatherization is a program that helps low-income families to prepare their homes against the elements. It allows weather stripping, caulking, insulating, repair and replacement of doors, windows and furnaces, etc. to keeps families more comfortable while lowering their heating costs.

If you would like to comment on the state plan, but cannot attend the public hearing, you can e-mail comments to iwx@ihcda.in.gov with subject line: Public Comment.


Getting the word out about Summer Cool

May 26, 2009

We just sent out a news release this morning about SCCAP’s Summer Cool Program that starts next Monday, June 1.

One thing I added to this release from the post I made on Inside SCCAP last week about the Summer Cool Program is some information about the energy conservation kit that households can receive in addition to assistance with their electric bill.

Once approved for the Summer Cool Program, a member of each household can receive information about how to conserve energy and a conservation kit that contains three compact fluorescent light bulbs and a furnace filter whistle that tells you when your filter is dirty and needs to be changed.

The retail value of the energy conservation kit, which is provided to approved households at no cost, is about $25. Each household can only receive one kit per year, so if you already received one this winter, you can’t get another one this summer.

For more information or an appointment, contact an SCCAP office: Monroe County, 339-3447; Morgan County, 342-1518; Owen County, 829-2279; Brown County, 988-6636.


Summer Cool Program starts June 1

May 21, 2009

Help with summer electric bills is on the way for low-income households in Monroe, Brown, Morgan and Owen counties. 

The Summer Cool Program offered by the South Central Community Action Program will run from June 1 through Aug. 31. It will assist eligible low-income households by providing $50 toward their electric bill.

This summer assistance is part of a broader Energy Assistance Program that also includes help with fuel bills during the winter. For the winter program that just ended, SCCAP assisted 5,209 households, a 15 percent increase from the previous winter.   

All households who received Energy Assistance from SCCAP during the past winter are eligible for the $50 electric credit in the Summer Cool program. All other households must complete an application and have their income verified.

Once approved for the Summer Cool program, a member of each household can also watch a short presentation on how to conserve energy and receive at no cost a conservation kit that contains three compact fluorescent light bulbs and a furnace filter whistle that tells you when your filter is dirty and needs to be changed. The retail value of the energy conservation kit, which is provided to approved households at no cost, is about $25.

In addition, a household where a family member has a severe medical condition may provide written verification from a medical doctor to receive a small window air conditioner. Clients should call the SCCAP office for details about the required documentation to claim this benefit.

SCCAP has provided energy benefits to low-income citizens for 27 years. Last year, 2,116 households received assistance through the Summer Cool Program.

Eligibility for the Summer Cool program is based on the number of people in the household and total household income: 1 person-$15,600, 2-$21,000, 3-$26,400, 4-$31,800, 5-$37,200. For each additional household member beyond five people, add $5,400.    

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the SCCAP office in your county: Monroe: 339-3447, Morgan: 342-1518, Owen: 829-2279, Brown: 988-6636.


Nominate your local heroes

May 20, 2009

With the celebration of National Community Action Month in May, there are a couple of national award competititions for which you may want to nominate local people.  

One of these is the Sargent Shriver Achievement Award, which was established by the Community Action Partnership in 1995 to recognize and honor achievements by individuals who, with the assistance of a Community Action Agency, have changed their lives and achieved independence. To be eligible for this award, individuals must also have contributed to improving their community through advocacy, volunteerism, public service or some other vehicle.

The other competition is the Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award, established by the Community Action Partnership in 1988 to acknowledge exemplary achievements in support of Community Action. To be eligible, individuals must be a volunteer for a Community Action Agency, have made a significant and outstanding contribution toward accomplishing the promise of Community Action and be devoted to changing people’s lives.

The Community Action Partnership will provide a complimentary hotel room and convention registration to the winners of both competitions so they can be honored during the Awards Gala at the 2009 Community Action Partnership Convention on Sept. 3  in Philadelphia.

Nominations are due by July 6. For more information, contact me at doug@sccap.monroe.in.us


Winter energy assistance wraps up

May 18, 2009

The South Central Community Action Program served 5,207 households with its winter Energy Assistance Program that just ended.

This program provides help with heating bills to eligible low-income families. It also offers assistance with the purchase of bulk fuel to heat homes and crisis assistance to families who are in danger of utility disconnection or have no fuel.

The 2008-09 figure of 5,209 households who received assistance marks a 15 percent increase from the previous winter when SCCAP served 4,546 households. Of the 5,209, 1,508 were elderly and 1,287 had a head of household who is disabled.

This winter, we served 2,252 households in Monroe County, 1,471 in Morgan County, 987 in Owen County and 499 in Brown County through the Energy Assistance Program.

Clients can sign up for SCCAP’s Summer Cool Program starting on June 1. That program assists eligible low-income households by providing $50 toward their electric bill.

Last year, 2,116 households received assistance through the Summer Cool Program.

Next winter’s Energy Assistance Program will begin in October. If you have any low-income friends or family that may be eligible for this program, please help us by letting them know that assistance with heating costs is available through SCCAP.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers

%d bloggers like this: