Policy Summary

03/26/09

Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Funding Opportunity Announcement

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides $5 billion over two years for weatherization of low-income family homes, through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP is an existing DOE program revised under ARRA to reach a larger number of homes and increase the amount of assistance offered to each home, administered through states. The ARRA funding represents a temporary 5-fold increase in DOE weatherization funding and follows President Obama’s initiative to eventually weatherize 1 million homes per year.

Overview

  • Funding: $5 billion over two years (see grantee allocation chart below)
  • Grant recipients: States & Territories (59 grantees). Subgrantees must be community action agencies or nonprofits.
  • Program goals: The purpose of the Weatherization Assistance Program is to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce their total residential expenditures, and improve their health and safety. The goal of the ARRA is to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery, with preference given to activities that can do so expeditiously. According to the National Community Action Foundation, the President expects about 810,000 homes to be weatherized by the end of the Recovery Act period.
  • Program Precedents: The federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was authorized in Title IV, Part A of the Energy and Conservation and Production Act of 1976. The current WAP statute was amended as follows:
    • Maximum eligible income level: increased from 150% to 200% of poverty level
    • Assistance level per dwelling cap: increased from $2,500 to $6,500
    • Training and technical assistance: maximum percentage raised from 10% to 20% of funding. Note: the DOE will retain 3% of overall funding for national T&TA initiatives.
    • Second-round improvements: allowed for on homes weatherized as recently as 1994 (amended from 1979)
    • Project prioritization: The Secretary of Energy may give priority to the most cost-effective projects. Also, agencies that have demonstrated experience and effectiveness in weatherization are to be prioritized as subgrantees.

The ARRA increases the DOE portion of funding for weatherization by more than 5 times FY 08 funding levels each year, and represents a doubling all weatherization funding, including state & utility programs.

Application Process for States

Timeline: Document due dates, components and funding timeline for State Applications

  Due Date Components DOE Obligation of Funds
Initial Application 3/23/2009 (8pm EST)
  • Standard form for federal assistance
  • Preliminary list of additional units to be weatherized
10% of total allocation upon DOE approval
Interim Dates: Due before submission of Comprehensive App    
Proposed Subgrantees 10 days prior to public hearing Public list of proposed subgrantees  
Hearing Prior to Comprehensive Application deadline Public hearing for final selection of subgrantees    
Comprehensive Application 5/12/2009 (8pm EST)
  • Standard forms for federal assistance (Master File)
  • Discussion of ramp-up challenges and how to meet them (State Plan)*
  • States must list subgrantees, location of projects, production schedule, energy savings, training activities, and they must detail the public hearing process and plan for project monitoring and verification (Annual File)
  • Budget information & Justification
40% of total allocation upon DOE approval
Reviews Regularly through grant period DOE will closely monitor grantee performance through continual communication and monitoring. States need to include plans for monitoring subgrantee progress in their application and follow up documents. The balance of total funding will be based on DOE review of grantee fund obligation, reporting compliance and job creation. Probably through a staged process (20%, 20%, 10%)
Fund Obligation All funds to be obligated by September 30th, 2010    
Fund Exhaustion All funds must be spent by March 2012    

*State plans should address the challenges with respect to work-force training, monitoring and oversight, quality control, intake and qualification, management information systems, equipment and supplies and how these challenges can be met. Compliance with recording requirements

Selection of Subgrantees

Subgrantees must be community action agencies or other public or nonprofit entities. States must give preference to organizations that have operated effective WAP or community action programs, and must hold a public trial prior to the submission of their comprehensive application to ensure that all eligible groups are considered. Documentation of the hearing proceedings and the public notification of the hearing are required for states to receive ARRA WAP funding.

Public Hearing – States must make public their list of proposed sub grantees 10 days prior to the hearing. Subgrantees will be selected based on the findings of the hearings regarding:

  • Experience and effectiveness in weatherization: extent & quality of previous work, staff size and credentials, ability to secure and train additional workers.
  • Experience in assisting low-income persons
  • Capacity to undertake timely and effective weatherization. The DOE has not issued more specific guidance for community action organizations. For more information, interested organizations should contact their state governor’s office.

Other considerations

Prevailing Wages:All laborers and mechanics working for contractors and subcontracts on stimulus-funded projects must be paid at local prevailing wage rates as determined under the Davis-Bacon Act.

Advance Payments: States must pay each WAP subgrantee in advance as long as the subgrantees:

  • maintain appropriate financial management systems to ensure fast and accountable transfer of funds; and
  • are determined not to be “right risk” for fraud. A state can only place a subgrantee on “high risk” status for certain conditions, and must work to notify, remedy and reconsider the “high risk” entity in a timely manner.

Additional Information for States and Nonprofits

Best practices for WAP program ramp-up – Several states and non-profit entities have experienced similar expedited ramp-ups in WAP funding. Best practices and guidance will be posted at www.waptac.org.
Community Action Associations Guidance – Community Action Program Legal Services, Inc. (CAPLAW) has posted an informative resource for community action groups involved in WAP.

Appendix 1: Weatherization Assistance Program: Stimulus Grantee Allocations: $5 Billion Total

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State/Territory Weatherization State/Territory Weatherization
Alabama $71,800,599 Nevada $37,281,937
Alaska $18,142,580 New Hampshire $23,218,594
Arizona $57,023,278 New Jersey $118,821,296
Arkansas $48,114,415 New Mexico $26,855,604
California $185,811,061 New York $394,686,513
Colorado $79,531,213 North Carolina $131,954,536
Connecticut $64,310,502 North Dakota $25,266,330
Delaware $13,733,668 Ohio $266,781,409
District of Columbia $8,089,022 Oklahoma $60,903,196
Florida $175,984,474 Oregon $38,512,236
Georgia $124,756,312 Pennsylvania $252,793,062
Hawaii $4,041,461 Rhode Island $20,073,615
Idaho $30,341,929 South Carolina $58,892,771
Illinois $242,526,619 South Dakota $24,487,296
Indiana $131,847,383 Tennessee $99,112,101
Iowa $80,834,411 Texas $326,975,732
Kansas $56,441,771 Utah $37,897,203
Kentucky $70,913,750 Vermont $16,842,576
Louisiana $50,657,478 Virginia $94,134,276
Maine $41,935,015 Washington $59,545,074
Maryland $61,441,745 West Virginia $37,583,874
Massachusetts $122,077,457 Wisconsin $141,502,133
Michigan $243,398,975 Wyoming $10,239,261
Minnesota $131,937,411 American Samoa $719,511
Mississippi $49,421,193 Guam $1,119,297
Missouri $128,148,027 Puerto Rico $48,865,588
Montana $26,543,777 Northern Mariana Islands $795,206
Nebraska $41,644,458 Virgin Islands $1,415,429
  Total $4,718,725,640

Note:

  1. The totals do not include funding reserved for DOE operations and technical assistance provided by DOE
  2. Weatherization funding excludes Tribal grants; Navajo for $9,068,150 and Northern Arapahoe for $956,210