HUD, Energy to streamline energy programs

May 6, 2009 at 5:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- U.S. departments of Energy, and Housing and Urban Development secretaries Wednesday agreed to work jointly to streamline the federal weatherization program.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate the weatherization and other energy retrofitting programs funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the agreement at the start of a stimulus implementation meeting with Cabinet members. The Recovery Act provides $16 billion to the Energy Department and HUD to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.

"This agreement is the perfect example of government coming together in service of the greater good," Biden said.

The partnership would "tear down the unnecessary barriers" to retrofit homes of low-income and seniors and "shred the red tape" that can bog down the process," the vice president said.

For example, Income verification requirements under the Energy Department's weatherization assistance program duplicates the HUD verification process needed for housing subsidies, the White House said. Under the agreement, the income verification process will be conducted once instead of twice.

"(We'll) not only bring down energy costs," Biden said, "but also create new green jobs that will be the foundation of our economic recovery."

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