The housing crisis is complicated. It looks different in big cities versus small towns and was historically caused by a raft of federal, state, and local policies around zoning, suburbanization, and segregation. Add in more modern problems like a building shortage and lack of affordable renting options, and the issue becomes even more multi-faceted.
Something that often goes unnoticed in the conversation is high energy bills. Utility costs are part of affordable housing. If one cannot afford to power their home, it is by definition an unaffordable home. At Energy Resource Center, we do our part to make sure low-income families are able to afford housing. The weatherization and efficiency upgrades we make save people an average of 25% on their utility bills. Underprivileged families tend to be pushed to the oldest, least-energy-efficient housing stock, with the oldest appliances and insulation. They may have to wear coats and gloves inside their own home in the winter just to keep the energy bill affordable. They may go without heat entirely.
Our upgrades including repairing or replacing furnaces and water heaters, adding insulation, changing conventional lightbulbs for LEDs, adding weather stripping, and installing low-flow toilets and showerheads, among other things. These changes can make families comfortable in their own homes, while at the same time allowing them to afford the energy they use in the home. The money they save can go towards other vital things like food or medication.
Check out more about Energy Resource Center’s programs here.