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County to share $2 million grant

Escambia County will share in nearly $2 million in grant funds to assist low-income and elderly Alabama residents who need help reducing their home’s utility bills.

The grants are supporting Alabama’s Weatherization Assistance Program which provides funds to improve the energy efficiency and safety of qualifying homes. Priority is given to those with disabilities, the elderly and low-income households with children.

Community Action Agency of South Alabama, which services Escambia, Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Marengo, Monroe and Wilcox counties, was awarded $127,347.

“With limited, fixed incomes, many elderly and disabled residents don’t have the ability to pay higher air conditioning bills in the hot summer months,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “By making energy-efficiency improvements to their homes, this program makes energy bills easier to manage for our most vulnerable residents.”

An energy audit is conducted of each home that qualifies for weatherization assistance to determine the most cost-efficient measures. Common improvements include installing extra insulation in the attic, walls and floor; sealing air leaks around doors and windows; repairs or tune-ups for air conditioning and heating units; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency compact fluorescents. In addition to lowering energy bills, the improvements can reduce the risk of fire and other hazards.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Energy. This round of funding comes in addition to $950,000 Bentley awarded earlier this year for the weatherization assistance through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Bentley awarded the grants to 16 community agencies across the state that manage the program at the local level and receive applications from individuals who wish to be considered for assistance.

For more information on the program or to apply for funding, contact the Community Action Agency’s office at 251.626.2646.