It’s more apparent these days that the seasons are in transition and soon, the cold weather will be upon us. That change in the weather also means a drain on the bank accounts of low income families who struggle to pay their energy bills.

In honor of October being recognized at Weatherization Month, state officials are encouraging residents to consider applying for assistance programs that can help them save money and make their homes and the environment safer places to be.

The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program is administered at the state level by the MDHHS Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. MDHHS utilizes Community Action Agencies and non-profit organizations to provide weatherization services at the local level. The program has been shown to reduce household energy costs by an average of $283 per year, benefitting approximately 1,300 low-income families in Michigan.

Trained energy auditors use various tools to analyze a home’s energy usage and then determine the most cost-effective measures to install. Typically local contractors are called in to complete the work.

Aside from helping families meet their financial obligations, this kind of program has also been shown to greatly address other overlooked issues like improved indoor air quality and adequate ventilation—just two of many factors that are crucial to having healthier living conditions especially for those living with some chronic conditions. Essentially, home repairs could result in fewer doctor visits for those most in need.

In Lapeer County, the Human Development Commission (810-664-7133) administers the weatherization program. In St. Clair County, the point of contact is Blue Water Community Action (810-982-8541).

If you or someone you know could benefit from this kind of service, contact an agency to learn more and start on the path towards having a more comfortable and healthier home.