Virginia became the first southern state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, in 2020. RGGI is a regional cap and trade program designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. Proceeds from the auctions are used for energy efficiency programs for affordable housing, as well as coastal resilience and community flood preparedness.
The Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) administers approximately 50% of the auction proceeds through their Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency (HIEE) funding, which enhances affordable housing programs for low- to moderate-income (LMI) families. For fiscal year 2021, these funds are allotted to DHCD’s Weatherization Deferral Repair (WDR) and Affordable & Special Needs Housing (ASNH) programs. The HIEE program and other initiatives further benefiting LMI families will continue to be developed in fiscal year 2022 and beyond. This includes not only the continuation of the WDR and ASNH programs but also the addition of the Housing Innovations Partnership (HIP) Grants.
Repairs causing homes (or multifamily building units) to be deferred from the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) are funded through the DHCD’s Weatherization Deferral Repair (WDR) program. A home cannot receive energy efficiency and health and safety measures through WAP until these necessary repairs are made. Measures include air sealing, efficient light bulbs, insulation, and carbon monoxide detectors. Out of the total $21.1M allocated to HIEE in fiscal year 2021, 60% went to the WDR program. Thirty percent of the HIEE allocation will go to this program in fiscal year 2022.
“WDR allows us to return to clients who have applied for weatherization but have been deferred for services due to major home repairs needed”, said Bradley Strahm, Business Development Specialist at Community Housing Partners. “These clients do not have the financial resources to make these home repairs, so many have been waiting for several years before they can receive energy-saving weatherization services.”
The Affordable & Special Needs Housing (ASNH) program strives to create and preserve Virginia’s affordable housing units. The program provides financing for projects that meet local affordable housing needs and support state housing policy. Out of the allocated $21.1M for fiscal year 2021, 40% went to the ASNH program. Sixty percent of the HIEE allocation will go to this program in fiscal year 2022.
“The Affordable and Special Needs Housing dollars from RGGI that were allocated to the projects that Piedmont Housing Alliance is undertaking provide direct investments into the lives of the lower income, working class renters and homeowners who will call these communities home. These families will spend hundreds of dollars less a year on energy costs on average – hundreds of dollars that translates to stable, safe, warm home environments,” said Sunshine Mathon, Executive Director of the Piedmont Housing Alliance.
The Housing Innovation Partnerships (HIP) Grant program allocates money for deep energy retrofits for affordable housing in historically economically disadvantaged communities (HEDC). Starting in fiscal year 2022, 10% of the HIEE allocation will go to this program. The total revenue allocated to HIEE from the Q2-Q4 2021 and Q1 2022 auctions is projected to be $55M. Therefore, $5.5M is projected to go to the HIP Grants program in Q1 2022.
Check out the VAEEC’s case studies and one-pagers below to learn more about how the Weatherization Deferral Repair and Affordable & Special Needs Housing programs are helping Virginians across the Commonwealth.
For more information on RGGI and HIEE, visit the DHCD website. You can also view the presentation slides from the VAEEC’s “Making a Difference in Low-Income Housing: How the RGGI Auctions Affect EE Work” panel at our Spring 2021 Forum.