HACEP Launches Weatherization Effort in Partnership with City and Project Bravo
The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, Texas (HACEP) is taking its mission of providing safe, decent and affordable housing a step further by collaborating with Project Bravo and the City of El Paso to give low-income families an opportunity to reduce water and energy bills by weatherizing homes and improve the quality of life among its 20,000 public housing residents.
HACEP’s Community Services Department is actively knocking on doors to educate its public housing families of this great opportunity and help determine their eligibility. So far HACEP has weatherized 18 public housing units at the Williams Community on the Westside and reinsulated 98 units at the Henderson Apartments through the City’s Weatherization Assistance Program. In addition, HACEP has sent more than 1,300 weatherization referrals to Project Bravo for the qualification process.
“Our goal is to provide 100 percent of our communities with weatherization services,” said Gerald W. Cichon, Chief Executive Officer of HACEP. “This massive effort by our Community Services Department will translate into very real savings for thousands of HACEP residents and to the federal taxpayer.”
Weatherization is the process of making homes more energy efficient by protecting buildings from wind, rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. Improvements include tightly sealing air leaks, improving insulation, and installing energy efficient doors and windows. An inspection will be made, and if necessary, outdated air conditioners, water heaters, and refrigerators will be replaced. Consequently, consumers are being educated on energy saving methods and maintenance to promote a greener life and community.
Recently, Project Bravo received $8.7 million to renovate El Paso homes with a budget of up to $6,500 per home depending on its condition and the family’s income.
“Back in March we were weatherizing 30-40 homes a month,” said Roy Ortega of Project Bravo. “We must spend all of the $8.7 million on 1,700 homes. Right now we are on track to reach that number as we’re averaging 150 homes per month.”
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs estimates these weatherization methods will last 20 years and require little follow-up maintenance. The U.S Department of Energy claims that homeowners would save an average of $300 annually on utility bills and that the utility bill increases 25 to 40 percent for every un-weatherized home in the United States. Because of high energy usage, buildings in the U.S. account for two thirds of all electricity and one third of all energy consumed.
In order to qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program, eligible applicants must earn less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline, which for a family of four is $44,100 per year or less, or live with a disability. To replace refrigerators, residents must earn less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level and have an account with El Paso Electric in their name.
To receive an application, public housing participants may contact their Assistant Asset Manager to fill out the required paperwork, which will then be forwarded to Project Bravo. They may also contact Zulema Jamis with the El Paso Weatherization Assistance Program at (915) 541-4244 or visit
www.ci.el-paso.tx.us/commdev/weatherization.asp  for more information.
2009 Poverty Level Guideline