August 30, 2010; Source: Bristol Herald Courier | Give credit to the Abingdon, Virginia nonprofit, People Incorporated, for knowing what it’s doing. It just got a second stimulus grant of $1 million for weatherization, meaning that it must have done well enough on its first $1 million to warrant being refunded. The People Incorporated weatherization program demonstrates the multiple objectives built into the stimulus, hardly the jobs-only measure that stimulus critics are pointing to.
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According to Bryan Phipps, the nonprofit’s V.P. for development, new rules for this weatherization grant include promoting weatherization innovations such as solar panels, geothermal heating, and solar hot water heaters—connecting low-income households to advanced energy-saving technologies. That means that the organization has to be on the cutting edge of weatherization tools and techniques, not simply carrying out the default weatherization services of sealing cracks, adding insulation, and replacing old windows. The idea that the stimulus funded do-nothing groups sit around and kill time doesn’t hold water—or heat.—Rick Cohen