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Lawmakers urge administration to fund Weatherization Assistance Program

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Richard Hanna are urging the White House to help fund a Weatherization Assistance Program. The two spoke at the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency Friday about their efforts.

They say they are asking President Obama to fund about $210 million towards a Weatherization Assistance Program which over the years has seen devastating cuts. Their goal is to help more families make changes to their homes to make them more energy efficient.

"A lot of families with children are going cold at night and that's not good enough," said Kirsten Gillibrand. "We want to make sure the President keeps it as a priority and funds it as other priorities will be funded in his budget."

"You go into some of these homes and I've been into a number of them there are often very simple and obvious ways to keep them much more comfortable," said Congressman Hanna. "They are sometimes surprised at how easy and inexpensive it is."

The two say weatherization efforts as simple as adding weather strips, or insulation to homes saves households on average about $400 a year, money that goes right back into the local economy.

"Our local construction workers do the weatherization, our local manufactures create the energy efficient appliances, it makes a difference," said Senator Gillibrand.

The Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency says they have almost 3,000 families on waiting lists looking for weatherization help in their homes, homes like Pearl Redmond's in Ilion.

"It was rough, empty sidewalls, some insulation in the attic, nothing adequate some health and safety concerns in the attic with some sewer gases that we took care of," said Stan Malinowski, Production Manager of MVCAA Weatherization Division. "She did have some windows that were literally falling out and when I showed up to the house she had actually towels stuffed in the broken glass and the wood had rotted right out."

Pearl Redmond is now thrilled with her home and says she noticed the difference so much she's even turned the heat down.

"The walls that are going up my steps, I can feel the difference in the halls, I used to like 68 degrees in day, now I went down to 64 it made that big of a difference," said Pearl.

The Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency says they do subcontract some of the jobs to shorten the waiting list, however this funding would greatly help them help more.

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