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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2020 

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander comes to the defense of Dr. Anthony Fauci; the NAACP goes to bat over student debt and Election 2020.

2020Talks - October 20, 2020 

Early voting starts in Florida, and North Carolina allows election officials to start the ballot curing process. Plus, Trump's attacks on Dr. Fauci.

Weatherization Program Heating Up to Cool Off Floridians

June 4, 2009

For Floridians, summer means an increase in the need for air conditioning, and with it, increased power bills. But, this summer, low-income assistance agencies are gearing up to help cut those costs. Thanks to $175 million in federal stimulus money for weatherization, low-income families in Florida will have as much as $6,500 each to spend on repairs, insulation, doors, windows, and new air conditioning and heating units.

James Miller, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Community Affairs, says this represents a 6,000-percent increase in funding, and the second-largest increase in the nation.

"The warm weather is just as dangerous as the cold weather, and with Florida's large elderly population that is sensitive to extreme temperature changes, folks at the Department of Energy realized Florida needs these funds just as much as the northern states."

Older adults and families with small children living at 200 percent of the poverty level are the program's top priority. The weatherization program is designed to cut average power bills by $350 a year, or 30 percent.

Dorothy Inman-Johnson, executive director of the Capitol Area Community Action Agency in Tallahassee, says they have had weatherization waiting lists for years; lists she hopes will now be cleared.

"We now have the money to cover some of the additional demand we’re seeing that was causing us to wring our hands and pull our hair out."

The stimulus money will boost the economy by creating jobs in an industry especially hard- hit, she says.

"This is creating jobs that will put a lot of people back to work in the construction industry, and a lot of these people are out there without work."

The Capitol Area Community Action Agency is advertising for contractors to lead the weatherization projects, and those contractors are expected to hire additional workers to complete the jobs.

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL