The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) today announced the launch of a new $10.7 million component of the Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) focused on farmworker housing. The LIWP Farmworker Housing Component provides no-cost rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and energy efficiency upgrades to low-income farmworker households to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lower energy costs for participants.
“Expanding LIWP to specifically target low-income farmworker households will ensure that this hard-to-reach and often disadvantaged community will benefit from California's Climate Investments," said Linné Stout, CSD Director. “The LIWP Farmworker Housing Component will save energy, lower GHG emissions, and improve the livability of farmworker housing in California."
Farmworkers are one of the most vulnerable populations in the state due to seasonal employment and low wages. Farmworker families pay a larger share of their annual income on home energy, and often cut back on other critical needs to pay their energy bills. The new LIWP Farmworker Housing Component will increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or rented by farmworker families; reduce energy bills; provide access to solar energy; and make health and safety improvements to homes. All services are provided at no cost to eligible low-income farmworker households. LIWP, part of California Climate Investments, is an energy efficiency and renewable energy generation program administered by CSD that reduces GHG emissions and provides important co-benefits to households and communities including energy cost savings, training, and job creation opportunities.
“The energy efficiency and solar PV services LIWP is providing will have a profound impact on farmworker households by lowering their energy costs and increasing their disposable income," said Marco Lizárraga, Executive Director of La Cooperativa Campesina de California (La Cooperativa). “California at large benefits by reducing its carbon footprint and freeing up dollars for local commercial enterprises to make a positive impact on the state economy."
CSD selected La Cooperativa as the Administrator for the Farmworker Housing Component though a competitive procurement and a funding award of approximately $10.7 million. La Cooperativa, a nonprofit corporation, was established in 1995 with the mission to improve the lives of California's farmworkers, their families, and rural communities through advocacy and service. La Cooperativa and a team of partner organizations that includes MAROMA Energy Services and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Agencies will lead efforts across 12 counties with the highest farmworker populations to enroll eligible farmworker households and install energy saving and solar measures in single-family dwellings and buildings of two-to-four units. These energy efficiency measures may include:
Central Heating and Cooling System Upgrades
Washers, Dryers, Refrigerators, and Freezers
Rooftop Solar PV Systems
Water Heater Replacement
La Cooperativa previously served as a Regional Administrator for LIWP's Single-Family Energy Efficiency and Solar PV Program in a region that included Imperial, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego Counties. While this program was not focused solely on farmworker housing, many farmworker households have already benefitted from LIWP's energy efficiency services.
Mario Contreras' family in El Centro, Imperial County, was able to qualify for a variety of measures, including solar PV, that have resulted in significant savings for his family.
“The services and experience I received through the Low-Income Weatherization Program have been very good," said Mario Contreras. “The contractors who helped me were great and communicated with me throughout the entire process. I received brand new solar panels and other energy efficient appliances for my home, and I have seen a huge difference in the amount I pay every month for my bills."
La Cooperativa and its team are actively engaging with farmworker employers and reaching out to farmworker households through channels such as direct mail, telemarketing, radio and print media, and door-to-door canvassing. Services are now available to eligible farmworker households in Imperial, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Riverside, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura counties.
For more information about the LIWP Farmworker Housing Component and how to apply for services, go to:
About California Climate Investments
California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and for low-income households. For information, visit http://www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.