Low-income homeowners may qualify for a home upgrade at no-cost to them, thanks to the Multnomah County Weatherization program. The program makes homes safer, energy efficient and more comfortable — all while reducing utility costs 25 to 40 percent and adding thousands of dollars worth of value to the homeowner.
More than 25 percent of American homeowners experience energy burden, when a disproportionate amount of household income goes towards paying utility bills. The average low-income household spends 8.6 percent of its income on energy — three times as much as higher-income households.
The Weatherization program works with local contractors to upgrade people’s homes. The result is lower energy costs to homeowners, a healthier living environment, and a smaller carbon footprint. The program may make the following renovations at no cost to the homeowner:
Insulating attics, floors and walls
Air and duct sealing
Repairing/replacing heating systems
Replacing windows and patio doors
Safety checking combustion appliances
Repairing/replacing old plumbing
“It’s truly a win-win situation,” said Gary Walsworth, a County Weatherization specialist. “Homeowners get safer, healthier and more affordable homes, and it helps make Multnomah County more environmentally friendly.”
To qualify for Weatherization assistance, a household's income must be at or below 200 percent of Federal Poverty Level. For a household of four, that translates to $52,400 annually. Qualifying residents who live in an apartment building are encouraged to have their property owner apply.
Due to COVID-19, the program has taken extra precautions to protect homeowners. Every contractor follows strict state and federal safety guidelines, including physical distancing, wearing gloves and face coverings, and disinfecting tools frequently.
“Any homeowner who qualifies should definitely apply now while there’s time,” Walsworth says. “We are literally giving homeowners a home upgrade at no cost to them. This has the potential to change lives, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The program is currently taking new applicants online or by phone at 503-988-7423.