SACRAMENTO - Legislation that would prevent elected officials from The federal government's failure to take easy and inexpensive steps, such as insulating walls and roofs and installing more efficient appliances, adds $1 billion a year to the energy and housing costs of 3 million of the nation's poorest families.That's the conclusion of "Up the Chimney: How HUD's Inaction Costs Taxpayers Millions and Drives Up Utility Bills for Low-income Families," a report issued August 26, 2010 by Charlie Harak of the National Consumer Law Center. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spends well over $5 billion annually to pay for heat and power for public housing authorities and subsidized rental units, or to assist low-income people who pay those utility bills directly. By making better use of existing energy efficiency programs (including those offered for free by utility companies), and by improving data collection on energy use in subsidized units, HUD could easily trim more than $1 billion from that tab, according to the NCLC report. "By failing to take full advantage of existing energy efficiency programs, the federal government wastes taxpayers' money, needlessly spends scarce housing funding on energy and utility bills, and plunges poor families deeper into poverty," said Charlie Harak, a NCLC senior attorney and author of the report. The report is posted online at www.nclc.org. Contributed by the National Consumer Law Center.
********** Published: August 26, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 19