Stimulus program greens homes, creates jobs


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Central Coast Energy Services out of Watsonville expects to receive close to $4 million over the next two years to help low income families weatherize their homes.

"That's part of the stimulus package, is creating jobs and the more people we hire and the more things we install and save energy, that's part of the package right there," Ed Reyes of Central Coast Energy Services said.

A family of four qualifies for insulation and more by making less than $44,000 a year.

The Monacivas family got a new door and windows and a new stove and ceiling fan, all for free. Their monthly energy bill of $120 should be cut in half.

"I was surprised they call me and do a lot of things, so I'm very excited," Maria Monacivas said.

Qualified homeowners or renters can get an average of $6,500 of energy efficiency improvements.

The federal government has pumped $4.7 billion into the weatherization program.

California's stimulus share is roughly $186 million, up dramatically from the $6.3 million the state could tap into last year.

There is so much federal stimulus money that has now made its way into the pipeline there is an urgent push at the state and local level to put it to work creating jobs and reducing energy consumption.

The nonprofit Central Coast Energy Services plans to bring on a total of 90 displaced workers and young people to ramp up its weatherization program.

Tuesday it welcomed Aimee Rameriz and another 19 members of the new Green Job Corps.

"It's just amazing, I can't explain it, but it's really awesome that the Department of Energy and the stimulus money that passes through and it gives us, the corps members, an opportunity that, 'OK, we have a job now,' but we're also helping the community," Rameriz said.

The government says nationwide, the program should make 1 million homes more energy efficient, helping people like Ramirez and the Monacivas family along the way.

LINK: Weatherization Assistance Program

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