Weatherization, home-repair programs stabilize housing, reduce its costs and improve sustainability

As winter takes hold in central Ohio, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission continues to serve as a resource for Franklin County residents to improve the functionality of their homes so they can live in a safe, warm, and comfortable environment.

MORPC works to help low- and moderate-income homeowners maintain and improve their homes through several weatherization and home-repair programs.

The WarmChoice weatherization service, provided by Columbia Gas of Ohio, is a no-cost energy assistance program designed to increase the energy efficiency of homes owned or occupied by income-eligible Columbia Gas customers in Ohio.

Income-eligible homeowners and renters may receive the following:

• A full home-energy inspection

• Attic and wall insulation

• Air sealing

• Safety checks on natural gas appliances

• Natural gas furnace repair or replacement

• Natural gas water heater repair or replacement

This year, MORPC is excited to introduce a new lead abatement program for homeowners in Franklin County, made possible by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health. This program is being implemented to help reduce the health and safety hazards of lead in older homes. As our newest program, we are currently working to define eligibility requirements.

For other health and safety-related concerns, MORPC also offers the Franklin County Home Repair Program. Residents who live in Franklin County but outside the limits of the city of Columbus might be eligible for this program. Basic program eligibility requirements are based on total household income, ownership of the home and area of ​​residency.

Qualified homeowners can receive a grant for such repair projects:

• Furnace and heating systems

• Leaking or failing roofs

• Faulty plumbing or electrical systems

• Structural issues

• Handicap accessibility modifications

• Upgrading sewage disposal and private water systems

• Other health- and safety-related issues

To qualify to receive home-repair services, homeowners must meet the following eligibility requirements:

• The home must be in Franklin County but outside the limits of the city of Columbus.

• The owner bust be current on Franklin County property taxes.

• The home must be valued at less than $186,500, as valued by the Franklin County Auditor’s Office.

• The owner must have homeowners’ insurance of at least the current market value, as valued by the county auditor’s office.

• Annual pre-tax household income must be within certain guidelines.

Weatherization and home repairs help stabilize housing, reduce its costs and improve sustainability, and we look forward to continuing to broaden our impact on our fellow central Ohioans with the help of the new lead-abatement program.

To learn more about MORPC or apply for the weatherization, home repair or lead abatement programs, go to morpc.org.

Robert Williams is senior director of residential services for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. MORPC’s purpose is to bring communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of the region.