Community Economic Development

winkelman house reduced
 “SENCA’s Weatherization Program is awesome and definitely worth the wait!” exclaims Natisha, a single family, disabled parent who resides with her youngest daughter in the small historic village of Brownville, Nebraska. 

In 2018 Natisha’s home received weatherization services from Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership’s (SENCA’s) Weatherization Program.  As a result the home is more comfortable as well as energy efficient which is significant for this budget conscious homeowner. 
Wanting a forever home for herself and her two daughters, Natisha purchased the family home from her grandparents in 2011. The forty-plus year old home, originally built by her great-grandfather in the 1970’s, needed some work yet seemed like the perfect choice at the time. Unfortunately, within two years of purchasing the home Natisha became very ill leaving her disabled and with limited income.
Natisha’s new lifestyle found her reading anything she could get her hands on.  A local newspaper featured an article on SENCA’s Weatherization Program. She read the goals of the program were to save energy, reduce heating and cooling costs, and to ensure the health and safety of the households served. Natisha’s home was drafty from inadequate insulation and several of the doors and windows were in need of repair. However, it was when she began experiencing problems with her home’s heat pump that she decided to contact SENCA and apply for assistance. Natisha’s application met the housing program’s household income requirement of 200% of poverty or below and was put on the agency’s waiting list.
SENCA receives funding from the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO) to operate the Weatherization Program throughout the agency’s seven county service area of: Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, and Sarpy. Because there is a higher demand for services than there are dollars available, qualifying households are placed on a waiting list until funding is available. Priority is given to elderly persons over 60 years of age, persons with disabilities, families with children under six years old, high residential energy users, and households with a high energy burden.
In February 2018, four years after applying, SENCA notified Natisha that a Health and Safety Inspection would be performed on her home. Once completed and approved the home was scheduled for work to begin within the following months. Funding afforded through SENCA’s Weatherization Program replaced two doors, two windows, provided insulation to the attic, silbox, foundation, and walls, in addition to installing LED lighting, pipe insulation, and an insulation blanket to the home’s hot water heater.    
Natisha comments on her personal experience with the program “Josh, SENCA’s Energy Auditor/Quality Control Specialist, is great to work with. He stayed in contact with me as well as the contractor’s performing the work throughout the entire process.” She goes on to add “Everything was very professional and the contractors performing the work were fast, efficient, and nice, always cleaning up after themselves and taking the time to answer my questions.”
Prior to receiving Weatherization assistance, Natisha’s November 2017 electric bill was $212. After receiving assistance, her November 2018 electric bill was $130, a savings of almost 40%!  Natisha’s home is heated by a heat pump. Once the outside temperature falls below 32 degrees propane is used to heat the home. Natisha was very impressed that even with the colder than average temperatures during November 2018 that she realized a significant reduction in propane use.  
“I would definitely recommend SENCA Weatherization to anyone who has a need.” shares a grateful Natisha.