WASHINGTON — The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), launched a new website, WxPlusHealth.org, to connect low-income families with services and funding to reduce their homes’ health hazards and energy costs. The site provides online tools for the network of service providers, vendors, and community services agencies that comprise the Weatherization Plus Health initiative ― a nationwide effort to improve the health, safety, and energy efficiency of homes for low-income families.

NASCSP and DOE said WxPlusHealth.org brings together two complementary but otherwise isolated federal programs to improve the effectiveness of both. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps lower home energy costs, while the healthy homes initiative seeks to mitigate the health hazards associated with substandard housing. Both efforts require a similar set of services and the home improvements that both provide can be done more efficiently in coordination.

“Most low-income families are eligible for both programs; because of this overlap, we can now deliver more comprehensive services to vulnerable families and make local agencies even more effective. That’s going to make a huge difference in a lot of peoples’ lives during these tough times,” said Steve Payne, president of the NASCSP board of directors and director of the Department of Commerce, Community Services and Housing Division in Washington.

The website uses advanced, interactive mapping technology to connect WAP and healthy homes providers to each other and to their clients. Besides finding local service providers, users may access demographic and climate data, find service territory and political boundaries, identify training opportunities, and more. For the agencies and businesses of the Weatherization Plus Health initiative, WxPlusHealth.org provides extensive resources to expand their technical expertise through training programs, networking opportunities for sharing best practices, and online video and photo galleries.

“In addition to searching for partners in the community, agencies can also view health and housing data within their service area, enabling them to adjust programs to address needs that are currently underserved,” said Timothy Warfield, executive director of NASCSP.

“WxPlusHealth.org is a really creative way for these federal programs to maximize the impact of the funds they spend. In these difficult times, it’s important that necessary services reach the people who need them as quickly as possible,” said Payne.

For more information, visit http://wxplushealth.org.

Publication date: 12/3/2012