By Matt Martinez
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
Looking to pay less on your energy bill?
There are weatherization programs for Milwaukee residents that can help you.
According to a report from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, homes that received weatherization services in 2018 and 2019 through its Weatherization Assistance Program saved about $450 on average in the first year.
Here are ways you can save:
(Did we miss anything? Please tell us in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Apply for energy assistance
In Milwaukee, residents can access the Weatherization Assistance Program by first applying for energy assistance with Home Energy Plus to determine what services they are eligible for. You can do this by applying with your local Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program agency. In Milwaukee, this can be either UMOS or Community Advocates.
Those interested can call 414-270-4653 or visit keepwarmmke.org to reach Milwaukee County Energy Assistance.
Calling this number will also allow someone to schedule an appointment with an employee at UMOS or Community Advocates who can help walk them through the process.
Eligibility is determined by income and household size. The income guidelines for the program this year stipulate that you have to be at or under 60% of the state’s median income. For a family of 4, this means you make a little more than $4,900 a month as a household.
A full list of income calculations can be found here at http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov/category.asp?linkcatid=819&linkid=118.
The program also targets homes with elderly residents or a child under 6 years old.
These resources also are available for renters. If you live in a rental property and want it weatherized, you can provide your landlord or property manager’s information when you apply. This information includes their first and last name, address and phone number.
When preparing to apply, have
• The name, date of birth and Social Security number of everyone in your home
• Income information, including income received through programs like unemployment benefits and Social Security
• Information about your utilities, including the account number for the utility you receive heat and gas from
Ana Ortiz, the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program manager at UMOS, said that people should not be discouraged from applying if they don’t have all of their income or utility information available right away. Program managers can help them get that information.
To contact UMOS directly, call 414-389-6600.
Providers in the area
Milwaukee has three organizations that provide services as part of the Weatherization Assistance Program: Social Development Commission, La Casa De Esperanza and Partners for Community Development.
Steve Schuettke, weatherization operations manager at Social Development Commission, said the process begins with an energy audit in the home to see where improvements can be made. Homes receive different services based on their needs.
To contact the Social Development Commission’s weatherization department, call 414-906-2727 or visit its website.
To contact Partners for Community Development, call 800-584-8172 or visit its website.
To contact La Casa De Esperanza, call 262-522-4111 or visit its website.