WNYT.com

Sen. Gillibrand urges more funding for weatherization

Posted at: 01/25/2013 5:53 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 6:23 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

SCHENECTADY - Debbie Dynysiuk was familiar with many of these energy efficient products at the Schenectady Community Action Partnership Friday afternoon.

That's because the Rotterdam mother qualified for a federal program that weatherized her home.

"They gave me a new furnace, new water heater, a couple of new doors, insulated a lot of new areas of my home," she said.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Debbie and local leaders to call for an infusion of funding of the Weatherization Assistance Program, which she says can help families save about 400-dollars-a-year on energy bills.

"Right now in the Capital Region alone, we have over 800 families still on the waiting list just hoping they'll get selected for this weatherization," Gillibrand said.

Families with an annual income of up to 49,000 can qualify, as well as the elderly.

Gillibrand said funding was drastically cut in recent years. She's asking President Obama to restore funding up to 210-million-dollars, saying it will also boost the local economy.

"Your using local construction workers in buying things like energy efficient refrigerators, boilers and water heaters for our local manufacturers it can make a difference in economic growth," said the Senator.

For Debbie, it's meant a reduction in her energy bills of hundreds of dollars. After losing her human resources job a few years ago, she said the program has freed up money she desperately needs.

"It's money I can use toward what I need to provide for my children. Food, medication. Being laid off, it's financially difficult," she added.