WAMY seeks weatherization applicants
The Weatherization Assistance Program at WAMY Community Action
is a nonprofit running at full capacity in Watauga County, and it’s completed all pending jobs and
is looking for new applicants.
“Since we’ve been so busy working, we haven’t had a whole lot of applications in Watauga for a couple of months, so we’re out there trying to let people know about it and encourage people to apply that are interested in it,” program coordinator Andy Bryant said. “The reason we’ve been able to stay so busy and serve so many folks is because we got an increase in funding in the Recovery Act, and an extension of that funding was offered to us – not every agency in the state got that – and we have until December to complete funding cycle.”
WAMY has provided free weatherization services, including proper insulation, air sealing and even refrigerator assessment and possible replacement, to low income residents of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties since 1976. WAMY’s income guidelines operate at 200 percent of the poverty guidelines, meaning a family unit size of two with an income just less than $30,000 a year qualifies.
“Plenty of people qualify for the program b... and there’s not been a house that any of us have gone through that couldn’t have used some type of weatherization, so there is a tremendous need still out there,” Bryant said.
WAMY requires energy bill statements form the last 12 months from the applicants and again 12 months after the weatherization is completed to compare the bills and calculate the savings, which is done in community action locations across the United States.
“Nationally, they’re seeing an average energy savings of $437 annually,” Braynt said. “Up here, we’re finding to double and triple that because of the fuel oil, so many people use kerosene, and if we can keep them from filling that barrel up an extra time, then we’re seeing way more savings than that.”
Bryant said that it’s not only the person that benefits from the savings and the new comfort in their weatherized home, but it is a positive step forward for the community, as well.
“I guess the way we see it is it’s more than just the individual,” he said. “It helps the whole society as far as being able to reduce the demand on fuels, offset the carbon emissions and all related things that go along with it.”
Boone resident Gina Ward had her home weatherized for free last year and said she’s glad she took initiative to apply.
“At first I felt apprehensive about it because I really didn’t know how the program worked,” she said. “But then I called down there, and two of the workers came out, and I really enjoyed talking to them. They were very intelligent, and I really have a lot of respect for them, and they approved us for the program.”
Since then, Ward has seen immediate results in her well-being, as well as in her pocket when the energy bills comes.
“The house stays warmer during the wintertime, and it stays cooler during the summertime, which is really a good thing, especially with the way we’ve had a lot of hot summers,” she said. “And the thermostat they got us is a controlled thermostat, and you can keep your heat controlled, and so it saves a lot.”
Eligibility and other related forms of information for applicants with contacts and addresses for offices in the four counties, and a list of services can be found at http://www.wamycommunityaction.org.
WAMY Community Action is located at 225 Birch St., No. 2, in Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-2421.