June 2, 2017 – The HELP program, part of Southern Nevada’s weatherization program, helps low-income households become energy efficient for free. The program has assisted about 12,000 homes in its 22 years of operation, said Jim Hutchinson, the program’s outreach coordinator.
Hutchinson says the program contracts workers to install products such as water heaters, refrigerators, screens, insulation and compressors, which cool and heat the Freon that powers air conditioners. A team will go into a home or apartment to make sure it has safe, efficient energy systems.
Hutchinson says the funding for free weatherization comes from sources such as the U.S. Energy Department, Nevada Housing trust funds, and energy assistance and conservation funds.
Mark Hooper, a field supervisor, said the program is run through the Nevada Housing Division and doesn’t advertise on TV, so many people hear about it only by word-of-mouth.
“We like to take our money and put it into our houses,” said Hooper. Weatherizing one house can cost up to $14,000, depending on what is installed.
Criteria for weatherization is that the combined household’s annual gross income is 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or less, Hutchinson said. That means a household with two adults earning an income would have to make less than $32,040 a year.
Robert Collins, a recipient of the free weatherization service, said, “My wife no longer is going to be hounded by the cold air that comes in through the top vents.”
“Helping people—that’s all I care about,” said Hutchinson.