ENERGY USE Agencies get funds for conservation program

A Mahoning County group received more than $1 million.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Three area community action agencies have been awarded a total of $1.85 million to make low-income residents' homes more energy efficient.
In all, $27.8 million was given to 35 agencies across Ohio that provide home weatherization services.
The Home Weatherization Assistance Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development's Office of Energy Efficiency, will improve an estimated 6,300 homes statewide, the governor's office announced Tuesday.
In the Youngstown area, the Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership received the largest amount, $1.014 million. The Trumbull Community Action Program received $498,609, and the Community Action Agency in Columbiana County was awarded $340,137.
What the program entails
The weatherization program helps low-income homeowners and renters lower their energy use.
Services include insulation of water heaters, heating ducts, attics and floors; reduction in air leakage; safety inspection and tune-up of heating systems; and, in some cases, replacement of heating systems.
Vesna Vukasinovich, interim director of the program for Mahoning County, said the $1 million award to her agency will result in the improvement of some 240 houses.
"We have a waiting list of at least, I would say, 300 people right now,'' she said. "A lot of our customers are disabled, are senior citizens."
Without the program, many citizens would not be able to continue living independently, she said.
"The energy burden is very great for poor folks. The needs are much greater than their incomes."
Vukasinovich said her agency is continually accepting applications for the program. To apply, call (866) 223-1125.
The other agencies could not be reached for comment.

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