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All About the Weatherization Assistance Program

All About the Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federally funded initiative that aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce the energy burden on low-income households.

This article provides an in-depth look at the program, its workings, impacts, challenges, and future prospects.

What is Weatherization?

Weatherization refers to the process of modifying homes to be more energy-efficient, which can significantly reduce utility bills. Improving the energy-efficiency of homes is beneficial for the resident, the community and even the world!

For low income households, energy costs can eat up a lot of their budget. The US Department of Energy has found that low income households have an energy burden that is three times higher than average households. This can be incredibly difficult for low income households to deal with.

Of course, improved energy-efficiency also contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as well.

What does the Weatherization Assistance Program do?

The Weatherization Assistance Program can assist with basic home repairs and energy-efficiency upgrades that help low income households reduce their power bills while also improving the comfort of their homes.

Among other things, the Weatherization Assistance Program may be able to provide:

  • Air quality improvements
  • Appliance upgrades
  • Electrical repair (to remove hazards, etc.)
  • Heating and cooling system upgrades
  • Insulation
  • LED lighting
  • Sealing and weather-stripping
  • Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
  • Water-saving showerheads
  • Window and door replacement

When we received assistance from the Weatherization Assistance Program in 2017, we received a free ductless minisplit, window replacements, insulation, weather-stripping, chimney cleaning and other essential services that improved the comfort of our home and also drastically reduced our utility bills. You can read more about our experience, if you’re interested.

Who is eligible for WAP?

In order to be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program, you must meet income and household guidelines. Although the income guidelines may vary by state, they are typically capped at either 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or 60% of the State Median Income.

You may be considered automatically eligible if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TANF).

Families who have at least one child, senior, or family member with a disability will receive priority with this program, which means they will be served faster than households who do not have a family member in one of these categories. Households with very high energy use can also receive priority through this program.

How do I apply?

In order to apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program, you need to find the agency that coordinates these benefits in your area. Usually, that will be your local Community Action Council. However, sometimes these programs are administered by a state agency or a network of nonprofits instead.

Your utility provider will be able to tell you which organization is responsible for the Weatherization Assistance Program in your area. If you can’t figure out which organization to contact, call 211 or ask your utility provider for clarification.

In order to apply, you will usually need to provide proof of your income over the last year, as well as identifying documentation for every member of your household. During my WAP appointment, I was asked to provide birth certificates, Social Security Numbers, and income statements for every member of my household. I also had to provide three recent utility bills, proof of address, and other documentation.

If you are renting, you will also need to get written permission from your landlord before you apply for assistance. If your landlord does not agree, then you will not be able to get help from this program. The contractors who provide this labor cannot work on the home unless the homeowner agrees to the services being performed.

What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you will need to wait to hear if you are approved. You should know within a relatively short time if you are approved for this program.

Even if you are approved, you may have to wait for a little while before services can be performed. That’s because people who qualify for priority under this program may skip ahead to the front of the line. This can sometimes cause delays for people who don’t meet the priority criteria.

When I received assistance from the Weatherization Assistance Program, I was warned that it could take months for the services to be completed. However, it was only about six weeks before the workers began showing up to do the work. It was all done within about two months.

How does the Weatherization Assistance Program work?

The process is actually very simple. The federal government gives the states money to provide this program to their low income residents. The funds are managed by local agencies (usually Community Action Councils), who process and approve applications.

When your application is approved, the organization will work with professional contractors to conduct an audit of your home. They will identify what is causing your utility bills to be so high. They will work with you to determine what the most effective and impactful improvements would be.

Once they’ve identified the work that needs to be performed, they will get approval to do that work. They’ll usually come back another day to complete the work. Depending on the amount of funding available and the type of improvements being offered, it could take several days for the work to be completed.

Is the WAP helpful?

The WAP was established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 1976. Over time, the program has evolved, with increased funding and expanded services, and as of now, it has helped millions of families by reducing their energy costs.

Over the years, this program has had a remarkable impact. According to the Department of Energy, for every dollar invested, the program delivers $4 in benefits, including energy savings and reduced health and safety costs. Not only does it benefit recipients by lowering their energy bills, but it also contributes to environmental conservation by reducing energy consumption.


The Weatherization Assistance Program plays a critical role in reducing energy costs for low-income households and promoting environmental sustainability. Its continuous evolution and adaptation to criticisms ensure it remains a vital resource for those in need.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.