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PLATTSMOUTH – Winter is coming and that means home heating costs.

For lower-income people that could be an issue, which is why the Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, or SENCA, offers something that could create a warm feeling in place of those cold-weather blues.

It’s an income-based weatherization program offering funds for more efficient energy usage and dollar saving improvements.

“It’s a great program for people who own or rent and they do trailer houses, also,” said Susan Keholm, SENCA development director.

To receive free weatherization services, according to Keholm, the combined household income must fall at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is revised annually. In 2018, a family of four could earn up to $50,200 and qualify for these services, Keholm said. Households with persons receiving either Aid to Dependent Children, ADC, or Supplemental Security Income, SSI, are automatically eligible for free weatherization assistance services.

The process starts with an application reviewed by agency staff, Keholm said. If approved for further action, an inspector would go to the home for more details before deciding if qualifies for these services. It’s possible there could be issues the renter or the landlord could fix themselves prior to any further action, or it could be something major and cost prohibitive, according to Keholm.

“Funding is restricted,” she said. “There are specifics to what the money will pay.”

If the house is approved for weatherization services, it would be put on a waiting list, Keholm said. Renters would need to contact their landlords for their approval prior to receiving these services, Keholm said.

Possible improvements paid through this program may include insulation to the attic, walls and/or floors, replacement of broken glass in primary windows, or installation or adjustment of door weather-stripping, thresholds, and/or door sweeps. In addition, through an efficiency inspection, furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters may be repaired or replaced through this program, Keholm said.

The timeline to do these improvements would depend on availability of these state funds, the number of houses on the list and the availability of the private contractors who would do the work, she said.

“In the last year or so, there have been several homes here in Plattsmouth that have taken advantage of this program,” Keholm said.

To apply online, visit www.senca.org. For more information, including a home rehab program, call Gin Christiansen, SENCA’s Housing Director, at 402-862-2411, ext. 104.

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