The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). SMCAA receives these DOE funds for its low-income residential energy conservation program. The program provides free home energy conservation services to low-income Michigan homeowners and renters. These services reduce energy use and lower utility bills, thus creating more self-sufficient households. Watch a short video on Weatherization by the Department of Energy:
A trained inspector will assess eligible dwellings for energy conservation needs. A typical inspection will include Blower Door testing for air leakage, Combustion Appliance testing for safety and efficiency, and a Health and Safety inspection. A computerized audit is the basis for determining which measures are most cost effective for each individual dwelling.
According to national studies, households that receive weatherization services can expect heating costs to be reduced 20-25% and 15-40% reduction of fuel usage. (Results may vary.) At today's fuel cost, that amounts to about a $300 savings. As fuel costs continue to rise, even greater savings will result.
The Weatherization Assistance Program provides free weatherization and energy-efficiency improvements to owner-occupied houses and tenant-occupied rental units located within Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. Weatherization is very simple - it improves energy efficiency and permanently reduces energy bills.
Depending on the results of a free energy audit, each eligible property may receive a combination of improvements.
What free upgrades MAY include:
Attic, wall, basement insulation
Door sweeps/weather stripping
Window air dealing and caulking
Faucet aerators/shower heads
Continuous ventilation fan
What Weatherization does NOT do:
Remodel your home
Clean your gutters or paint
Landscaping or garden work
Plumbing or electrical work
Replace doors or windows
Install wheelchair ramps
Replace your roof
Air conditioner replacement
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a resident of Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren County with your property located in that county in order to receive services through SMCAA.
Whether you are an owner or tenant, you must live in the property that needs Weatherization Assistance.
Preference may be given to: people over 60 years of age, families with one or more members with a disability, and families with children.
Under DOE guidelines, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization assistance if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
You must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below 200% of the current year's Federal Poverty Level. You may view the FPL to see if your household is eligible HERE.
Building a Sustainable Life
Mr. S was homeless when he was approved for the Supportive Housing Program which would pay for a portion of the rent on a potential home. After 6 years in SHP and receiving case management, Mr. S was informed by his landlord that she would be selling his rental house because she was moving out of the area.
When Mr. S met with his SMCAA caseworker he discovered he no longer qualified for the program due to a household income increase. Given this fortunate situation, Mr. S stated he would like to purchase his rental home from his landlord. His caseworker referred him to another SMCAA program, Homebuyer Education, which provides homeownership counseling. Mr. S enrolled in the workshop where he not only learned the ins-and-outs of buying a home but also about other SMCAA programs and services.
Two months after Mr. S completed the Homebuyer Education workshop he purchased his home -- and the mortgage payment was $200 a month less than what he had been paying for rent! Within six months of being a homeowner, Mr. S returned to SMCAA to apply for Weatherization services, which he had learned about through his counseling workshop. His application was accepted through WAP and his home has since been weatherized and helped to decrease his utility usage and utility bills cost.