FY 2003 Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made grant awards
totaling $1,495,681 to one territory and nine tribes under the Residential
Energy Assistance Challenge Option Program (REACH) for FY 2003.
This is the eighth distribution of REACH funds.
INDIAN TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
AND TERRITORY REACH AWARDS: $1,495,681
Central Council Tlingit and Haida (Alaska)
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (Michigan)
Confederated Salish Kootenai (Montana)
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Chippewa Cree (Montana)
Lumbee Regional Development Association (North Carolina)
South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (Washington)
Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council (Montana)
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe of South Dakota
The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, through previous REACH grants, have developed an innovative and cost-effective REACH project that has delivered sustained documented regional impact in promoting energy self-sufficiency for low-income Native families.
The project model has been developed based on a client evaluation of the previous projects, and specifically on how to make project strategies and services user friendly to the isolated circumstances of the low-income Native target population.
Previous REACH projects have enabled Central Council to development the Central Council's "one stop shopping" program database, in which intake and assessment form can be used for eligible families regardless of the program services they are accessing, thus reducing paperwork and increasing the efficient of service delivery.
This model has been instrumental in achieving moderate but measurable improvements in energy payment records and reductions in energy crises with the Native population, and has also institutionalized the REACH project.
This project will continue the use of this model, with the addition of building increased capacity at the village level for energy decision-making and self-help. The project model has also been refined to provide for greater and more meaningful customer input and satisfaction. This information is then used as the baseline for design and delivery of program services.
A further project model refinement for the FY 2003 REACH project is to strengthen existing linkages to the Central Council Head Start program, Tlingit and Haida Housing Authority, the Central Council TANF program, and the Central Council Eldercare program for program outREACH, information dissemination, client identification, and the development of a holistic family service plan. *
Includes $25,000 Energy Efficiency Education Services funds
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB) will implement a REACH project "Optimizing Energy Efficiency for eligible GTB Households". The project will service income-eligible households within the Tribe's service area, which includes the counties of Antrim, Benzi, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee. Priority will be given to elders and others with significant need as determined by an objective analysis.
The GTB REACH Initiative will enhance and increase the ability of income-eligible households to reduce their energy vulnerability, meet energy costs, and support the participants to achieve self- sufficiency. The project will provide education/budgeting preparation and referral to other services; replace the furnaces of participants who own their own homes; and, provide emergency funds for crisis/cutoff situations.
This project should lead to tangible achievements toward reducing household energy burdens on the poor and increasing their ability to pay for the household energy they need. While helping to keep low-income participants in their home and address their health and safety needs, the goal is to help REACH participants address needs that will have significant impact on their lives and achieve energy self-sufficiency.
As a result, the Tribe expects to realize a reduction in repeat families who apply for energy assistance and "lower" current due balances of energy cost from families who participate in the program.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) on the Flathead Reservation in northwestern Montana will address persistent problems that low-income residents on the Reservation have in paying their energy bills.
The focus of the program will be to REACH those residents who are on the verge of eviction from Tribal Housing because they are caught in a downward spiral of high-energy bills. This problem is compounded by damages in housing that both increase the cost of energy and result in a greater prospect of eviction, from what is low-cost, energy-efficient housing on the Reservation.
By using REACH funds to provide for minor housing repairs, the CSKT Department of Human Resources Development, which administers TANF and WIA program funds, will identify those families who are in the early eviction process. Arrangements will be made with Tribal Housing for an extension of the probationary period pending repair of the most egregious energy-wasting damage, and leverage tribal heating assistance funds to bridge the period of the probationary extension to allow these families the time to catch up with delinquent bills.
DHRD will then provide case management services and promote client education of the costs of a damaged home, the difficulties of moving in the local housing market, and the relationships between energy costs and energy management in a home. Most clients will be recommended for local utility budget billing to stay current with their utility bills.
The overall goal is to prevent evictions of those tenants whose evictions would cause a greater drain on tribal heating assistance programs because these tenants would be forced into either living in a car or in substandard housing, which typically has higher energy costs than standard housing.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is an American Indian Tribe whose boundaries encompass ten and one-half counties in the Southeastern part of Oklahoma.
The Choctaw Nation will directly implement the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) Program. REACH Program funds will be utilized to help strengthen the defined target population with services designed to reduce energy cost and promote economic self- sufficiency, toward the goal of independence from energy assistance payments.
The target population for the REACH Program will be households wherein reside elderly, disabled, or very young children. The Low- Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will be used as a major source of referral for the REACH Program.
Program activities will be closely coordinated with the LIHEAP Program. Program activities are designed to provide a range of services for low-income families, with the specific intent of having a potentially major impact on the causes of poverty, and to remove obstacles and solve problems. Direct services may include purchase on behalf of applicant such as: propane tank, gas line plumbing, ceiling fans, air conditioners, electrical outlets insulators, wood burning stoves, heaters, hot water tank, pipe insulation, storm windows and doors, weather stripping, door sweeps, insulation, awning, blinds/shades, window and door screens, reflective solar control film, and other such home energy needs.
The Tribe plans to coordinate the REACH Program with the LIHEAP Program and all other Tribal Programs to assure that providing these services will contribute to the long term reduction of energy cost and achievement of self-sufficiency.
The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation is located in North Central Montana and the smallest of seven reservations in Montana. The Tribe will implement a REACH project designed to assist low-income families in making significant improvements in sustaining and stabilizing their life styles by providing alternatives to reducing energy cost.
The Tribe has identified the targeted population of low-income families and has in place a well-coordinated network of both federal and non-profit organizations, which targets the same population, and provide assistance for energy related costs.
This REACH project will provide energy conservation education, coordination, referrals, advocacy, assistance in determining those factors that contribute to the high cost of energy, and emergency energy assistance.
The Tribe will, for the first time ever, have an opportunity to address the identified problem areas, by conducting energy audits, providing weather stripping, thermostats replacement, replacement of older appliances with energy efficient appliances, furnace filters, minor furnace repair, electrical draft stoppers for outlets, replacement of propane lines, gauges, safety valves and providing an alternative source of heat using wood burning stoves.
Ultimately, low-income households will be able to address energy conservation in a more independent manner, reducing the need for energy assistance and giving the household a sense of independence.
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is governed by a constitution adopted by the tribal members, Council, and Chairman. The Tribal Council is the governing body and operates all tribal programs since October 1, 2001.
The Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) Program will serve the emergency energy-related crisis of seventy-five eligible Lumbee families in the Hoke, Robeson, and Scotland counties who apply for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assistance. Priority will be given to those families who are elderly, physically incapacitated, and have small children under the age six in the household.
The Lumbee Tribe will provide energy-related emergency and weatherization services for the eligible Lumbee families such as:
- heating or cooling equipment,
- window installation, and
- procurement of heating fuel for eligible clients, and
- referrals to other Tribal programs
These services will be provided in collaboration with the Tribe's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) component and will target LIHEAP recipients whose needs exceed the limited amount of assistance currently made available.
In addition, a brochure will be developed and disseminated with energy intervention, prevention, conservation, and project results. The brochures will be dispersed to utility companies, the American Red Cross, Department of Social Services, and others that work with the energy related needs for the poor.
The results to be achieved by the REACH program is that seventy- five families will receive energy efficient weatherization assistance and energy education/energy conservation to alleviate the energy burden as evidenced through the purchase of affordable heating and cooling equipment.
The South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (SPIPA) consists of a consortium of five Native American Tribes that are located in rural southwest Washington State. SPIPA program primary goals are to minimize health and safety risks that result from high-energy burdens on low-income Native Americans, prevent homelessness as a result of inability to pay energy bills, increase the efficiency of energy usage by low-income households, and target eligible tribal families on an emergency need basis.
The activities described under this strategy and design framework have been carefully selected to meet the needs of the Tribal communities that will be served under this REACH project. The project will start with participation of all required and interested SPIPA staff, Tribal staff, community organizations, and Tribal members.
Two workshops will be designed based on the needs of the participants in the individual Tribal communities. The activities may include developing the skills and knowledge to access tribal services, resources, and programs available through the Tribes and SPIPA; teaching consumer strategies for obtaining energy efficient products and services, and building life-coping skills. In addition, the workshop may include presentations and training from the local PUDs and Community Action Councils. The REACH Program staff will also provide program participants with referrals to other SPIPA and Tribal programs.
SPIPA will sponsor an intertribal Energy Fair to encourage Tribal community members who have not participated in the REACH program to apply for eligibility. Up to 20 homes, four per Tribe, will receive home energy modification or appliance replacements as a part of the REACH program.
By distributing and compiling pre and post workshop results SPIPA will be able to measure the participant's general knowledge of energy management techniques and ability to control and manage energy use in a household spending. Meetings will be scheduled with various energy vendors and organizations in order to discuss energy related and training directed by the community and program needs.
There will be agreements with Community Action Group and Utility providers. The program staff will utilize various media and outREACH activities. REACH program staff will also attend community events where they can share information and connect with new potential program participants.
Data will be collected and status reports will be provided to participating programs. A program evaluation will be completed in the final program report that will include an evaluation of the overall program goals and objectives, as well as performance measures of each of the activities listed above.
These activates are essential in achieving the increased knowledge and personal confidence that will build toward achievement of the overall REACH goal.
The U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a chain of 14 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) Option Program of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, has targeted clients of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other low-income families.
This eighteen-month project will address the need for clients to comprehend home energy conservation, family budget matters through a combined village workshop dealing with family budgeting, orientation on other social services available, and an energy conservation-orientated child care program.
This project will utilize classroom presentations to demonstrate energy conservation. Students of elementary and junior high school will be invited to receive appointments by REACH as "Energy Ambassadors" to teach others to practice energy conservation measures. All students who meet the requirements of "Energy Ambassadors" will receive a certificate of appointment. In addition, a contest will be held for high school students to write and co-direct three (3) thirty-second television ads promoting energy conservation.
The project developed a character called "Officer Ophing Powers" a humorous, police officer mascot for the REACH project. This character will be utilized for television ads, the child care program at workshops and the energy conservation fair. To further convince the public of the benefits of using energy efficient products, five LIHEAP clients will be used to produce testimonials through a "seeing is believing" means.
The immediate outcome of this project is that several LIHEAP clients will receive immediate, tangible assistance with reducing their utility costs. In practicing energy conservation methods, the final outcome of reduced utility costs will be REACHed.
The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (SWO) Tribal Council has designed a Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) Option Program to reduce the energy vulnerability among low-income residents of the reservation who participate in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The Tribe proposes to reduce energy vulnerability in the long term by:
- providing hands-on experimental education to low-income resident in energy conservation strategies including weatherizing of homes.
- studying the viability of alternative energy sources for low-income households and, if feasible, look for funding for other energy demonstration projects.
- providing budget/debt counseling and utilizing other service providers related to the root causes of energy vulnerability.
The Tribe recognizes the need for active participation of low- income residents in the REACH project and has designed a participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation strategy to assure that the knowledge, creativity and energy of residents meets their most urgent needs.
In keeping with SWO's goal and strategies, the principal REACH program activity will be on-site, experiential education focused on energy-saving strategies for individual households. REACH staff will provide energy education on ways to save energy and reduce heating bills. Through energy education and conservation, households will be instructed on ways to improve the energy efficiency of the home, choose energy efficient-appliances, and practice energy-efficient habits.
The Tribe seeks to assure the long-term viability of the REACH program by training tribal members, including students from the Sisseton-Wahpeton College, to carry out energy audits, develop action plans, and provide weatherization improvement to homes. REACH staff will also identify households in need of emergency payment support.
The training program will train REACH staff in household's budget strategies. This training can in turn be incorporated into the on- site visits of REACH staff. Further training in household budgeting will be provided during the Tribe's on-going Employment and Training program.
In some cases, short-term crises will be addressed through a crisis payment fund and negotiations with energy providers to help eligible households concentrate on long-term solutions to their energy vulnerability.
Building Tribal capacity to reduce energy vulnerability will improve the long-term impact of the REACH project.
Prior to on-site visits, REACH staff will train two to three tribal members to conduct energy audits, develop action plans and make home improvements to save energy.
The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation is located in southeastern Montana.
The Tribal LIHEAP will implement the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) project directly without delegation within a seventeen-month time frame. The target population for this proposed REACH project is the low-income residents of the reservation of which many are of poverty and below poverty income. The Northern Cheyenne REACH project will identify the needs of the clients through low-income measurable weatherization activities in all five districts.
Throughout the seventeen months of this project, the Tribe will host informational meetings with refreshments and door prizes to entice clients to come and learn the purpose of this project.
The Tribe proposes to provide an avenue to help eligible households make significant improvements in sustaining and stabilizing their family life styles by providing alternatives to reduce their energy costs. The proposed project will be an additional source of funds available to address the energy needs our low-income families.
Energy assistance will be given to those families meeting the guidelines and services will be provided such as: weather- stripping, energy efficient lighting, thermo-stat replacements, window shades, furnace filters, old appliance replacement with new energy efficient appliances and , electric draft stoppers outlets and switch seals.
The proposed REACH services will reduce the health and safety risks associated with high energy costs that are beyond the resources of many of our clients on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
The outcome of this project is that several REACH clients will receive immediate tangible assistance with reducing their utility costs. In practicing energy conservation methods, the final outcome anticipated is that the client's energy needs will be reduced by at least 20% or at least decrease the high energy costs by 10%.
The Tribe expects the project will continue well beyond the end of the REACH project period.