Given the extreme weather the county and state has dealt with the past few weeks, the Kansas Corporation Commission's recent announcement of a new weatherization grant may come as a breath of fresh air.

According to a press release, the KCC announced that it will provide $350,000 to the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation to provide weatherization assistance to low income Kansans. While it was reported the KHRC's Weatherization Assistance Program has helped 576 households so far this year, there is also a waiting list of others in need that the grant would help provide for.

For homeowners seeking aid, guidelines for requesting assistance are listed on the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation's website (www.eckan.org), which is the organization that covers Harvey and 13 other counties in the state.

With funding provided through the Department of Energy, weatherization services offered through the grant include weather-stripping, caulking doors and windows, adding insulation and repair or replacement of heating and cooling systems and applications.

“Low income families spend a larger percentage of their monthly income on energy costs than other households do. As a result, they can’t afford to make home improvements that would save money,” said Jay Scott Emler, KCC Chairman. “The no cost energy efficiency services provided by KHRC help residents realize energy savings year round. We are pleased to be able to help with this important effort.”

"It's going to save them in energy costs and, you know, when you're dealing with people who fit into the income guidelines, they're having to stretch their money as best they can so I've always felt any money they can save on their heating bills they're going to be able to use for food or gas or the other things that come along in life that they're going to need to come up with money for," said Bruce Peterson, Weatherization Director for ECKAN.

Assistance offered comes at absolutely no cost, according to Peterson, though he noted an energy audit is required after the application process to see what kind of help can be given to individuals. Applications can be downloaded online or received from the ECKAN office, where they must be turned in as well.

While the exact amount (for ECKAN) and timeframe for the grant has yet to be finalized, Peterson noted once all the plans are complete it will be another way the organization strives to reach its goals.

"It's just more money for us to put out there for our clients," Peterson said.

“The Kansas Weatherization Assistance Program is excited to partner with the KCC to advance energy efficiency services to the neediest of our population,” said Scott Kuhn, KHRC’s Weatherization Program Manager. “Households receiving whole house weatherization services typically see savings between 15 to 25 percent.”

For more information on the program and grant, visit kshousingcorp.org or eckan.org.