Title 33: Human Services
Chapter 25: HOME WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
33 V.S.A. § 2502. Home weatherization assistance program
§ 2502. Home weatherization assistance program
(a) The director of the state office of economic opportunity shall administer a home weatherization assistance program under such rules, regulations, funding, and funding requirements as may be imposed by federal law.
(b) In addition, the director shall supplement, or supplant, any federal program with a state home weatherization assistance program.
(1) The state program shall provide an enhanced weatherization assistance amount exceeding the federal per unit limit allowing amounts up to an average of $6,000.00 per unit allocated on a cost-effective basis. In units where costs exceed the allowable average by more than 25 percent, prior approval of the director of the state economic opportunity office shall be required before work commences. This amount shall be adjusted annually by increasing the last year's amount by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for the previous year.
(2) The state program shall provide amounts for low income customers utilizing any high operating cost fuel, to convert to another fuel source under rules adopted by the director based on the cost effectiveness of the converted facility over the life cycle of the equipment.
(3) The director, in collaboration with the weatherization service providers and other stakeholders, shall develop the state program so that it will include:
(A) Facilitating the development and implementation of a statewide common energy-audit tool or tools that work well on all Vermont housing, including multi-family buildings.
(B) With regard to multi-family buildings, requiring either of the following requirements to be met:
(i) at least 25 percent or more of the tenants in the building are eligible for the weatherization program; or
(ii) at least 50 percent of the units are weatherization affordable, and at least one tenant of the building has applied for the weatherization program and has been determined to be eligible. For purposes of this subdivision, "weatherization affordable" means a unit having a rent that is established at less than 30 percent of the income level established by computing 60 percent of the area median income level or 60 percent of the state median income level, whichever is higher, for the relevant household size. Relevant household size means the number of bedrooms in the unit, plus one.
(C) Establishing program eligibility levels at 60 percent of the area median income, or 60 percent of the state median income, whichever is higher.
(D) Eliminating the lien requirements on weatherized rental properties, so long as the landlord executes a rent stabilization agreement which has a term of at least one year.
(E) Generally, allowing flexibility to accommodate special circumstances in which greater energy savings can be realized or health and safety problems may be alleviated.
(F) Increasing the number of low income homes weatherized each year, or the scope of services provided, or both, to reflect increased revenues in the home weatherization assistance trust fund.
(4) funding for the installation of solar domestic hot water systems and other renewable energy systems on eligible homes, where cost-effective and consistent with other program needs.
(c) The secretary of the agency of human services shall by rule establish rent stabilization agreements and provisions to recapture amounts expended for weatherization of a rental unit which exceed the amount of energy cost reductions projected to be obtained by eligible tenants of the unit. The time periods established for rent stabilization and recapture shall be set taking into account the size of benefits received by tenants and landlords as well as the effect on program participation. Funds recaptured under this section shall be deposited into the weatherization assistance trust fund established under section 2501 of this title.
(d) Amounts raised by the gross receipts tax on retail sales of fuel imposed by section 2503 of this title may be used for energy assistance to low income persons, provided that such transfer does not reduce the fiscal capacity of the state office of economic opportunity to meet the obligations of the weatherization program as set forth in this chapter.
(e) The emergency board may direct that a portion of the amounts raised by the gross receipts on retail sales of fuel imposed by section 2503 of this title be used for energy assistance to low income persons and deposited into the home heating fuel assistance trust fund, for the purpose of meeting the home heating fuel assistance needs of the program recipients under chapter 26 of this title, provided that the emergency board determines such transfer does not reduce the fiscal capacity of the state office of economic opportunity to meet the budgeted obligations of the weatherization program set forth in this chapter. (Added 1989, No. 272 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 262 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 63, § 129c, eff. June 16, 2001; 2007, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)