Low-income families often live in homes or rental units that are not energy efficient. Often, these households must make the difficult decision to cut back on health care, medicine, groceries or child care in order to pay their energy bills. One program that provides services to make homes energy efficient, safer and more comfortable, and improve indoor air quality is the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Here in the Coulee Region, Couleecap operates the WAP in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties. In 2016, Couleecap completed weatherization services on 204 homes. The average annual cost savings per home is $640 or $13,180 over the life of the measures installed.

For every $1 invested in weatherization, $1.72 is generated in energy savings benefits and $2.78 is generated in non-energy savings benefits. Weatherization measures continue to save money and energy year after year and increase household incomes so funds can go towards key living expenses.

Everyone should be able to live in decent, safe, affordable housing. Some ways you can help address housing needs and issues in your area include encouraging low-income households to apply for heating assistance, so that they may also benefit from the WAP; making a donation to Couleecap’s housing and homeless assistance programs -- your donation will provide rent, utility bill and home repair assistance to low-income households in our area; educating yourself about housing needs and issues in your area; and/or voting for elected officials who are committed to continued funding for the WAP and other housing related programs.

Hetti Brown, Westby

Hetti Brown is executive director of Couleecap, Inc.

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