Last week's passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the economic stimulus bill) has resulted in an appropriation of $5 billion for the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which in recent years has received about $220 million annually, although it received $447 million in regular funding for 2009.
Groups such as the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) fought hard for the increased WAP funding, citing its potential for job creation and greenhouse gas reductions, as well as saving low-income households hundreds of dollars yearly (on average) in home energy costs. Originally, the Senate had allocated $2.9 billion for the program, while the House bill had sought $6.2 billion.
According to NCAF, the funds must be spent by September 30, 2010, but the term "spent" has yet to be defined. NCAF expects that the Department of Energy will release the funds to the states by March 15, and issue program rules by that time. NCAF has posted on its website a table showing its early estimates of WAP allocations by state.