Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Environmental Health Association recently announced that Vermont's Weatherization Program was one of four programs in the country to be awarded the 2017 HUD Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes. The award recognizes programs that promote healthier housing through research, education and innovative practices.
Vermont received the award this year because of its innovative One Touch Program - the first weatherization program in the country to incorporate healthy home assessments into all state-supported weatherization projects in single-family homes. Weatherization auditors use the One Touch electronic tool to connect families to resources that can improve health outcomes and reduce home energy use (e.g., help to repair peeling lead paint, stop smoking, access health care and more).
"Vermont's One Touch Program, led by the state's Weatherization program is a national model," said Martin Nee, HUD Region 1 Healthy Homes Representative. "Their efforts to streamline and coordinate the delivery of energy, health education and housing rehab services ensures healthy outcomes for clients and families. We are excited to see collaborations among these types of programs."
Vermont's One Touch Program is a collaborative effort between the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), Tohn Environmental Strategies which developed the One Touch approach, and a long list of private and public partners, including the Vermont Department of Health, NeighborWorks, Head Start, Children's Integrated Services, Efficiency Vermont, UVM Medical Center, Vermont Gas, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Visiting Nurses Association, Burlington Electric, several housing rehab programs, other community agencies and the State's five weatherization partners:
1. BROC Weatherization Office (Community Action in Southwestern Vermont)
2. Capstone Weatherization Office
3. Champlain Valley Weatherization Service
4. NETO Weatherization Office
5. SEVCA Weatherization Office
"Since the program began in 2014, we have been able to help over 1,300 Vermont families improve their health and reduce their energy use through this incredible partnership," said OEO Director Sarah Phillips. "We are always looking for new ways to connect our clients to helpful programs and for new partners to join. Agencies interested in becoming part of this effort should call our office at (802) 241-0943."
"Vermont's One Touch effort is unique because it operates statewide rather than in just one city," said Ellen R. Tohn, Principal of Tohn Environmental Strategies. "The other remarkable aspect is that the weatherization and energy programs involved take a holistic view of their clients' needs, and they spearheaded this effort to build a collaborative network to connect their clients to health and housing services."
The Weatherization Program helps low-income homeowners, renters and landlords reduce their energy usage, lower their utility bills, and improve the overall comfort and safety of their homes. For more information about the program and how to apply, visit our website at http://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/weatherization.
Source: Department of Children and Families