SENCA observes National Weatherization Day, offers free services to Nebraskans

Nebraska City News-Press

In a nationwide effort to create more awareness of local programs such as SENCA Weatherization and the energy saving benefits the program provides to qualifying households, Friday, Oct. 30, is recognized as National Weatherization Day!

As the north winds start to blow, residents of southeast Nebraska are getting a taste of what lies ahead in the upcoming winter months.

Unfortunately, many economically challenged households fear they won’t be able to pay the higher utility costs associated with the long, cold winter months that lie ahead. This is especially true for households with elderly residents on fixed incomes, those experiencing chronic health issues and those with small children.

Many of these families already live in older, drafty homes with little or no insulation and worry if their old, worn-out furnace will get them through another winter. This creates additional stress and hardship for households already struggling to meet basic needs.

Thankfully, Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Inc. (SENCA) provides a weatherization program to qualifying residents throughout the service area of Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson and Sarpy counties.

Weatherization enables low-income families, whether owning their home or renting, to reduce energy costs by making their homes more energy efficient. When a household meets the income requirements and is approved for weatherization services, the home will be evaluated to identify the most effective energy and dollar saving improvements which can be made.

Potential improvements may include insulation to the attic, walls and/or floors; replacement of broken glass in primary windows; installation or adjustment of door weather-stripping, thresholds and/or door sweeps; in addition to an efficiency inspection on natural gas, propane and fuel oil furnaces, boilers.

Hot water heater repair and/or replacement is also available.

After improvements are completed households generally experience an increase in comfort, reduced drafts, more consistent temperatures throughout the home, and a reduction in heating and cooling costs.

After receiving weatherization services, a typical residence experiences an average of 18.7 percent reduction in heating costs. Additional savings can also be achieved in cooling costs.

This conservation of energy reduces Nebraska’s dependence on imported energy and is a major contribution to the self-sufficiency of low-income persons, thereby allowing them to stretch their available income.

During the 2020 fiscal year, Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, SENCA provided 46 adults, residing in 23 homes, with energy-saving improvements and energy conservation training, thereby improving lives and strengthening southeast Nebraska communities.

To receive free weatherization services, the combined household income must fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is revised annually. In 2020, a family of four could earn up to $52,400 and qualify for assistance.

Households with persons receiving either ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are automatically eligible for free weatherization services.

To learn more about weatherization services, or to see if you qualify for assistance, please contact Gin Christiansen, SENCA housing director, at 402-862-2411, extension 110, or visit www.senca.org and click on Weatherization under the Community Economic Development tab.