By Rebecca Stewart
As with all successful ventures, WAP must continually evolve to meet the changing needs of the market and the funding challenges post-Recovery Act. WAP, for over three decades, has demonstrated its inherent ability to transform and to serve best the energy needs in the homes of low-income families. Challenged by today’s political and economic climate, the WAP continues to seek out technological advancements and creative approaches to address issues facing the program. However, while a great deal of emphasis is placed on the activities underway today, we must prepare for tomorrow.
In collaboration with the partners throughout the network, the new Weatherization Plus 2015 committee will develop clear, concise strategies for the next five years that are consistent with the goals of the WAP. This committee is made up of representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE), grantees, subgrantees, training centers, national and state associations, and other interested parties. The committee will propose to the national network a strategic plan to move the program forward in the next several years in the four main areas of:
- consistent delivery of quality services; and
- existing and potential new markets.
With the changing needs of the network, Weatherization Plus 2015 seeks to establish clear, concise strategies that are consistent with the WAP mission and establish a vision that:
- ensures the Program is positioned to leverage necessary resources to meet client needs that are beyond the traditional scope of WAP;
- ensures consistent delivery of quality services;
- conveys to the public the message of the Weatherization mission, vision, and services provided; and
- positions the grantee and subgrantee networks to improve services to existing market and expand to markets beyond low- income.
To this end, the committee will perform a strategic analysis of the WAP and its mission, resources, and capabilities; develop strategies to strengthen and enhance the program; solicit feedback from the Network and other interested parties; and ultimately, develop a Weatherization Plus 2015 plan with objectives, means, and metrics to successfully move the program into the future.
This plan will detail action steps, recommend priorities, and identify potential participants and resources to fulfill stated goals. Also included will be criteria for funding and the implementation of identified activities.
The original Weatherization Plus initiative began with discussions in 1998 and was led by the Millennium Committee, a group of state, local, and federal staff as well as other stakeholders. The Committee developed a visionary report containing a strategy for strengthening and expanding the Weatherization Assistance Program for the future. Named “Weatherization Plus: Opportunities for the 21st Century,” this strategic plan urged DOE to support the network of state and local Weatherization agencies in flexibly adopting a whole-house approach and a whole-community approach to better serve low-income Americans.
A subsequent Weatherization Plus Committee was formed in 2005. Stakeholders from all segments of the WAP network developed a plan with a vision of where WAP would be by 2010. Indeed, the vast majority of strategies envisioned by the committee turned into realities as the program continued to evolve to stay relevant and improve and expand its services.
As we move forward in a post-ARRA era, it is imperative that WAP continue to evolve and adapt to changing market, economic, and political circumstances, as well as possible new areas of concentration. The Weatherization Plus 2015 committee will help propel the program into the future and show the wider public that Weatherization Works!