State seeks public input on federal weatherization waiver

The Washington State Department of Commerce will conduct a public hearing from 11 a.m. to noon, July 14, 2011, in Olympia to receive comments on its waiver request for additional federal funds to weatherize homes. The hearing will be in the 2nd Floor Conference Room 207 of the Town Square Complex, Building 5, 1011 Plum Street SE, Olympia.

Each year the state receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce the heating costs of low-income families. By federal regulation, 85 percent of this money must be used to help pay heating bills. Only 15 percent can be used to weatherize homes and reduce long-term energy costs. If granted, the waiver would allow an additional 10 percent of the annual allocation to be used on weatherization efforts.Commerce estimates the state may weatherize up to 1,100 additional homes as a result.

“The goal of the state’s request is to reduce the energy and heating bills of as many low-income families as possible – and not for just one season, but for the long term,” said Weatherization Program Manager Julie Palakovich.

A copy of the draft weatherization request is available online at (click “weatherization”), by phone at (360) 725-5083 or by sending an e-mail to . Written comments are being accepted now, and must be received by July 14, 2011. Mail, email, or deliver to: Brigid Flynn, Program Specialist, Commerce Community Services and Housing Division, PO Box 42525, 1011 Plum Street (2nd floor), Olympia, WA 98504-2525, .