Making multifamily residential properties more energy efficient is a key strategy for reducing the disproportionate energy cost burden facing families on limited incomes. Energy cost burden is the percentage of household income spent on energy bills.
EEFA Federal Defense has been busy protecting the programs that matter the most. Preceding the passage of the new tax bill, EEFA states sent sign-on letters explaining the importance of federal programs like the Housing Credit, Section 8 project-based rental assistance, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Private Activity Tax Exempt Bonds and the Weatherization Assistance Program to their representatives. Copies of all the sign on letters can be found here.
The Defense team is also continuing to collect stories from people that benefit from these programs, like Betrang Nyguen, a single mom, animal lover, and English language learner who lives in a Housing Credit property in Maryland. Hers and other stories can be found on our soon to come new website!
In December of 2017, the EEFA Illinois team visited the United Winthrop Tower Cooperative on the anniversary of the state's Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) to see, first-hand, how LIHEAP and weatherization make housing more affordable for Chicago residents. At Winthrop, the team spoke with resident Norma Jones whose 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 month. She is able to put her savings towards medical expenses and feels grateful to live in a safe, comfortable home. More information on the EEFA's team visit and FEJA can be found on the NRDC blog here.
Communicating the value of these programs has paid off- the tax bill preserved the Housing Credit and private activity bonds, the two most important tools for financing affordable housing.