The department is the state agency to apply for, receive, and disburse money made available to the state by federal law for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons. The commissioner must coordinate available federal money with state money appropriated for this purpose.
The commissioner must make grants of federal and state money to community action agencies and other public or private nonprofit agencies for the purpose of weatherizing the residences of low-income persons. Grant applications must be submitted in accordance with rules promulgated by the commissioner.
In the case of any grant made to an owner of a rental dwelling unit for weatherization, the commissioner must require that (1) the benefits of weatherization assistance in connection with the dwelling unit accrue primarily to the low-income family that resides in the unit; (2) the rents on the dwelling unit will not be raised because of any increase in value due solely to the weatherization assistance; and (3) no undue or excessive enhancement will occur to the value of the dwelling unit.
The commissioner must promulgate rules that describe procedures for the administration of grants, data to be reported by grant recipients, and compliance with relevant federal regulations. The commissioner must require that a rental unit weatherized under this section be rented to a household meeting the income limits of the program for 24 of the 36 months after weatherization is complete. In applying this restriction to multiunit buildings weatherized under this section, the commissioner must require that occupancy continue to reflect the proportion of eligible households in the building at the time of weatherization.
The commissioner must distribute supplementary state grants in a manner consistent with the goal of producing the maximum number of weatherized units. Supplementary state grants are provided primarily for the payment of additional labor costs for the federal weatherization program, and as an incentive for the increased production of weatherized units.
Criteria for the allocation of state grants to local agencies include existing local agency production levels, emergency needs, and the potential for maintaining or increasing acceptable levels of production in the area.
An eligible local agency may receive advance funding for 90 days' production, but thereafter must receive grants solely on the basis of program criteria.
To the extent allowed by federal regulations, the commissioner must ensure that the same income eligibility criteria apply to both the weatherization program and the energy assistance program.