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SEK-CAP Considers Ending Weatherization Assistance - KOAM TV 7

SEK-CAP Considers Ending Weatherization Assistance

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -

Robert Purkey moved into his current home about two years ago. When he moved in, it was cold. 

"First year I was here, I froze," Purkey said. 

He's on a fixed income and couldn't pay to insulate the place. That's where SEK-CAP's weatherization assistance program comes in. 

It's a program helping low-income people and families make their home more energy efficient. To date, the program has improved more than 13,000 homes across ten counties in Southeast Kansas; like Purkey's.

The assistance is set aside for people and families with low income. But it may come to an end next year, if SEK-CAP can't find more eligible applicants. 

SEK-CAP CEO, Steve Lohr says the assistance is only used on homes in good enough condition to weatherize.

"So if there are structural challenges those would prevent us from weatherizing," Lohr said. 

So why can't SEK-CAP find houses in good enough condition? Take Pittsburg for example:

Becky Gray, Director of Housing and Community Development for the city, says 45% of houses in Pittsburg are 56 years or older. 23% valued at $50,000 or less. And 40% of households in the city earn less than $25,000 a year.

"When you layer all of those pictures together, you can kind of understand why maintenance of housing isn't necessarily something that has been kept up on," Gray said. 

Which comes back to the lack of applicants. 60% who meet low income requirements don't have adequate housing.

"We could weatherize more. There's enough money. But we're not able to accept all the funding. Because we don't have enough eligible households," Lohr said. "We know they're out there. But the challenges are too great."

If SEK-CAP had the applicants, it could weatherize upwards of 120 homes. 
 

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