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Office of Community Services – Administration for Children & Families: How CSBG funds are supporting Clean Energy & Affordable Housing in Wisconsin
To watch, click the image above or follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzWTDJ5zSp0
In honor of Earth Day, the federal Office of Community Services (OCS) recently highlighted how its anti-poverty programs work to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote environmental justice. One key feature included a four-minute video capturing the work of our local community action agency, West CAP, and how this rural Wisconsin agency is using federal funds to support clean energy through its affordable housing developments.
Members of the production team traveled from Washington D.C. and New York City to spend a couple days interviewing key West CAP staff, board members, City of River Falls officials, as well as low-income residents of The 1300 Residences in River Falls, where most of the interviews were held, to highlight West CAP’s work on affordable housing, environmental justice, and climate change mitigation. OCS is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and they administer the core funding for Community Action Agencies, like West CAP, across the country, through the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).
The video includes interviews and insight from West CAP’s Board Chair, Phil Verges, Board Secretary and low-income representative from Dunn County, Kwase Golliday, and Executive Director, Peter Kilde.
“Through this funding, we were specifically charged to not just treat the victims of poverty, but also to address the causes of poverty,” Peter Kilde shares in the video.
The video highlights the organization’s innovative use of solar panels, geothermal technology, and air-source heat pumps in its affordable housing developments, like 1300 in River Falls, and also a duplex outside of Menomonie which has rooftop solar as well.
“West CAP wanted to demonstrate the benefit to low-income people of not having an energy bill. It helps the people who live here afford to live here, and everybody benefits from less dramatic climate change impacts,” Kilde shared.
t also features input from the Director of Community Development for the City of River Falls, Amy Peterson, and gives us an inside look at those directly benefiting from more clean and affordable energy, the residents of affordable housing developments.
“I am below poverty level. With the solar, I don’t have an electric bill. This is going to be my forever home, and I know I’m going to be able to be here,” share Carla Weaver, a senior citizen who lives in the 1300 Residences in River Falls, WI.
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) is a federally funded block grant in the Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides funds to states, territories, and tribes to administer support services that alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in under-resourced communities. Tribes, territories, and over 1,000 local Community Action Agencies provide CSBG funded services and activities including housing, nutrition, utility, and transportation assistance; employment, education, and other income and asset building services; crisis and emergency services; and community asset building initiatives.
Visit OCS’s Earth Day Celebration Page here.