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Free home weatherization paying dividends for those in need

Posted at 6:57 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 19:57:11-05

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — Each year in Milwaukee County, thousands of people spend thousands of dollars in energy costs. Those costs could be reduced with weatherization work done to the home, according to the Social Development Commission.

Thursday, TODAY’S TMJ4 followed along as one member of the SDC’s weatherization team went out for an assessment of a home on Milwaukee’s north side.

That home belongs to Cherae Rose.

“[It’s] what my mother worked for to get here,” Rose said when asked about what her home means to her. Rose’s mother died in 2009.

Rose has lived in her home since the 1970s. She said they’ve seen high energy bills together. Now, with her mother gone, she said it’s harder than ever before to keep bills at bay.

“If anything happened to my furnace or water heater, I wouldn’t be able to do it. And I would probably lose the house because I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Rose said.

Thursday, an SDC assessor visited the home. Inspecting as he searched for ways Rose would be able to save money and if she’d qualify for SDC assistance.

The SDC evaluates the insulation, furnace operation, fridge operation, health and safety, and customer education. According to SDC energy auditor Frizt Jacobs, roughly 600 to 700 residents are serviced each year.

To qualify, the SDC recommends the following:

  • Applying for Energy Assistance is the first step in determining your eligibility.
  • Schedule an appointment with Community Advocates or UMOS (414.270.4653)
  • Visit Community Advocates at 4906 W. Fond du Lac Avenue or 728 N. James Lovell Street; or UMOS at 2701 South Chase Avenue
  • Your house or apartment (up to 4 units) has not been weatherized before.
  • 50% of the building’s tenants must qualify for Energy Assistance (Example: A 4-unit building would need two tenants to qualify for the program).
  • Your household meets certain priorities that may include a high energy burden or use, an elderly or disabled member or a child under six.
  • If you qualify, you will be referred to either SDC’s Weatherization Program, La Casa Esperanza’s or Partners for Community Development’s Weatherization Program.
  • Contact SDC’s Weatherization Program at 414.906.2727 or email at to request an application form.

Some of the services could include:

  • Insulation of walls and attics
  • Air sealing
  • Install energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Test, repair or replace furnaces and water heaters
  • Replace inefficient refrigerators with Energy Star units
  • Perform a general health and safety inspection of the home
  • Provide information about maintenance and energy conservation

There are also other programs for people in the TODAY’S TMJ4 viewing area:

Racine-Kenosha Community Action:
Racine: (262) 898-8036
Kenosha: (262) 657-0840

La Casa De Esperanza:
Milwaukee County: 414-270-4653
Waukesha County: (800) 506-5596
Jefferson County: 920-568-0604