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IL Low-Income Energy Programs Expand While Federal Cuts Loom

FEJA puts Illinois on the map as one of the nation’s leaders in ... program provisions in FEJA will help the state to serve more low-income single-family homes and multi-family buildings than ever before. In addition, FEJA also calls for an advisory ...

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Support NRDC Follow Us Twitter Facebook YouTube RSS Tumblr View all from our work Our Experts Our Stories Get Involved About UsMission Leadership Programs Financials Our Sustainability Media Center Careers Contact Us Donate Monthly One-time Search Search facebook twitter Scroll to the top Expert Blog › Laura Goldberg IL Low-Income Energy Programs Expand While Federal Cuts Loom December 07, 2017 Laura Goldberg Part of NRDC's Year-End Series Reviewing 2017 Energy & Climate Developments United Winthrop Tower Cooperative Photo: Laura Goldberg Exactly one year ago today on December 7, 2016, Illinois’ sweeping, bi-partisan energy legislation, the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), was signed into lawFEJA puts Illinois on the map as one of the nation’s leaders in clean energy, especially when it comes to energy efficiency programs directed towards underserved communities.The state’s two largest electric utilities, ComEd and Ameren Illinois, will allocate sizable energy efficiency budgets to programs that serve low-income Illinois residents thanks to FEJAComEd will nearly double their minimum requirement—spending around $48 million each year (over the next four years) on low-income efficiency programsThese dollars will help to support multi-family and single-family retrofits, energy efficiency kits, efficient lighting distribution in communities, supportive housing programs, affordable new construction programs, and more.The low-income energy efficiency program provisions in FEJA will help the state to serve more low-income single-family homes and multi-family buildings than ever beforeIn addition, FEJA also calls for an advisory committee that includes organizations that work directly with economically disadvantaged communities, to provide feedback for how these programs are designed and implemented.However, looming as a dark backdrop to this success in Illinois is what’s been threatened by the Trump AdministrationSpecifically, gutting federal energy and housing programs that serve the same Illinois low-income communities that these newly expanded state energy efficiency programs reachPrograms such as the following are on the chopping block:The Weatherization Assistance Program;The Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);Federal Rental Assistance; andLow-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)Below is more information about each program and details about how many households these programs have served: Source: "Cuts to affordable housing and energy assistance will harm struggling families," Energy Efficiency for All The state’s newly expanded low-income energy efficiency programs need the strong foundation that these federal housing and energy programs provide to economically disadvantaged residents in IllinoisWithout these federal programs Illinois families will suffer, and the benefits of the state’s most monumental energy legislation will never be fully realizedResidents across the state rely on these programs for their overall wellbeingFor example, MsNorma Jones from Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is a LIHEAP recipient and a member of United Winthrop Tower Cooperative, an affordable multifamily propertyThe building worked with the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA) to complete whole building and in-unit energy efficiency upgrades through the weatherization program in 2016Norma’s energy bills used to be hundreds of dollars every month, but now due to LIHEAP and her building’s weatherization work her bills are less than $30 each monthShe’s able to put her savings towards her medical expenses, and feels grateful to live in a safe, comfortable home.  MsNorma Jones: “People really need these programs, we just need help.” Photo: Laura Goldberg Celebrate the anniversary of FEJA by defending these federal housing and energy programsOn December 8th, the Continuing Resolution funding the federal government is set to expireIllinois legislators will have to vote on spending for the rest of the fiscal year, and will potentially be making decisions around these very programsEducate your friends, neighbors, and legislators about why these programs are crucial for Illinois families all over the state.By taking action now you’ll help FEJA live up to its full potential, helping to deliver access to energy efficiency and clean energy to all Illinois families. 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