We weatherize more than 100 homes each year. Homeowners with qualifying income levels are eligible to receive weatherization services at no charge. Renters may be eligible for services if their landlord agrees to pay one-half of the cost of materials and labor applied to their residence. Each home weatherized receives a comprehensive assessment of their furnace or other heating source, as well as the energy efficiency of their home. Private contractors are then hired to repair or replace the furnace, insulate the home if needed, and perform other energy conservation measures. Studies have shown that home weatherization can save a family twenty percent or more each year on their winter heating costs.
The "typical" household pays about five percent of its income for winter heating costs in Illinois. A family with low income has a much more disproportionate burden. Oftentimes, families are faced with having to chose between paying for power and buying food and medicine. Each year we provide energy assistance services to more than five thousand families. Qualifying families receive a payment on their behalf directly to their energy provider to defray a portion of their winter heating costs.
The amount of assistance each family receives is dependent upon income level, household size, and type of fuel used. Applications for this assistance may be submitted from November through May for qualifying households. Senior citizens, the disabled, and households who are disconnected from their power source may apply during a special early application period in September and October.
We also provide emergency services to reconnect families disconnected from their power sources, and emergency furnace repair or replacement to homeowners with low income who have inoperable furnaces.