Letter: Weatherization program an investment in ND housing – Grand Forks Herald

Recent news pointed to the extreme temperatures we experience in an average year in North Dakota. It’s not uncommon to see a temperature difference of 140 degrees from the hottest day of summer to the coldest day of winter.

Dealing with these conditions can be difficult. Especially if you live in an older home with inadequate protection against extreme weather, such as old windows, minimal insulation, and an unreliable stove.

So last September, when the North Dakota legislative commission voted to reject $19 million in federal and state funding for North Dakota’s Weatherization Assistance Program, we scratched our heads.

As the director of the local Community Action Agency, I have been involved in weathering programs for over 40 years and can say that it is one of the most effective programs in the country.

Through this program, we have weatherized more than 28,000 homes in North Dakota since the program began in 1976. A typical home saves more than $370 in energy costs per year after weatherizing their home. Weatherproofing can extend the life of existing housing stock and keep housing affordable.

But the benefits of the program don’t stop there. Weather resistance also means work. From weathering staff to local contractors and vendors, the economic benefits of weathering ripple across the state. Improved housing conditions alleviate physical and mental health problems for families while freeing up dollars that can be used for prescriptions.

Clearly, funding a weatherization program is an investment in North Dakota’s homes, economy, and its people. We encourage elected officials to consider the many benefits of this program and help with his $19 million funding that was turned down last September.

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