News Release: Gov. Inslee proclaims Oct. 30 Weatherization Day in Washington State

Celebrating 40 Years of weatherization and a new initiative to combat indoor asthma triggers

OLYMPIA, WA – Gov. Jay Inslee joins community action agencies, housing authorities and local governments across the state and nation in recognizing Oct. 30, 2016 as Weatherization Day in Washington. This year marked the 40th year nationally, and the 37th year locally, of the federal/state energy-saving service for low-income households around Washington.

“The Weatherization Assistance Program is an important resource for low-income citizens who struggle with high heating bills and energy-inefficient housing” said Gov. Inslee. “The investments we make in their home energy efficiency will save them money for years to come.”

Each year, Washington’s Weatherization Assistance Program has helped many households make it through the cold weather season – and the years ahead – by adding insulation, sealing cracks and making other improvements that reduce heat loss and save money on energy bills. In 2016, the Washington Weatherization Assistance Program expects to weatherize approximately 2,000 low-income homes. Read about successful work in Clark County (Vancouver Columbian).

Asthma and other respiratory diseases are also a chronic problem for many families in the homes weatherized by the Weatherization Assistance Program. Low-income families are more likely to have asthma, and children with asthma have the highest rates of hospitalization. In 2010, Washingtonians with asthma made 164,000 visits to emergency rooms, and paid $73 million for asthma-related hospitalizations. Public funds paid for about 60 percent of these costs (Washington State Department of Health data).

The new “Weatherization Plus Health” initiative can help reduce the impact of asthma by reducing indoor asthma “triggers” such as carpets, cockroaches, water damage and mold. A recent national study of the low-income weatherization program by Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed that weatherization in homes with asthma reduced asthma-related emergency room visits significantly. When Weatherization Plus Health is combined with homeowner education, Medicaid costs for asthma treatment can be reduced by over $400 per year per household.

A $2.1 million Weatherization Plus Health pilot grant program in Washington is addressing these issues. In eight communities, it is helping 250 households struggling with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to improve their health and save energy.

  • Pierce County Community Connections received a $508,042 grant to work with Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department’s Clean Air for Kids Asthma Community health workers.
  • Opportunity Council of Bellingham received a $478,000 grant to provide weatherization services combined with asthma education and prevention in households that have high utilization of medical services.
  • Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic received a $362,955 grant to add weatherization to their community health clinic asthma outreach services to families in Yakima County.
  • King County Housing Authority received a $277,233 grant to help families with children, adults, and seniors diagnosed with asthma improve the health and energy efficiency of their homes.
  • Snohomish County Human Services Department received a $220,000 grant to partner with Snohomish County ECEAP, Early Head Start, Case Management, and the Tulalip Tribe.
  • Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners received a $208,082 grant to provide healthy home assessments and education along with weatherization home improvements to low-income families in Spokane County.
  • Blue Mountain Action Council received a $50,000 grant to collaborate with The Health Center, a school-based health center in Walla Walla.
  • Yakima Nation Housing Authority received a $50,000 grant to partner with the Indian Health Service Asthma Program and their home visit activities.

Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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