I'm in St. Petersburg, Florida, attending the National
Community Action Foundation and Community Investment Futures Energy
. Today is the conference kick-off and I'm looking
forward to learning more about how community action agencies (CAA's),
the prime movers of the US DOE weatherization program, are using energy
leveraging projects to end poverty and improve energy affordability.
Many of the new leveraging initiatives focus on utility-weatherization
partnerships. For example, the Michigan Community Action Agency
Association won a contract to be the "Energy Optimization Administrator"
for the entire state. In Maine, the state's Weatherization Assistance
Program is quantifying their CO2 credit/offsets to earn program revenue.
And representatives from Habitat from Humanity and Rebuilding Together,
will be leading a matchmaking session for CAA housing programs.
CAA's have a unique leadership role in their community: coordinating
housing, weatherization, economic and community development for
low-income clients and communities. Thanks to the ARRA stimulus
funding, in this past year the weatherization and community action
networks have expended over $2.8 billion in ARRA funds and created more
than 20,000 new full time jobs. As ARRA funding winds down, there is a
sense of optimism and innovation at the conference about the role of
CAA's as community energy leaders, helping to ensure energy
affordability and clean, green jobs.