Residential Energy Assistance: Effectiveness of Demonstration Program as Yet Undetermined

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Rising prices for natural gas, electricity, and other fuels have made it even harder for low-income families to pay their utility bills. By the end of fiscal year 2000, the Office of Community Services had awarded $30 million in Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option (REACH) program grants to 24 states and 12 tribal organizations to fund 54 separate projects to help meet the home energy (heating and cooling) needs of low-income households. These grants ranged from $50,000 to $1.6 million. Most of the 54 REACH projects ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. August 17, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Rising prices for natural gas, electricity, and other fuels have made it even harder for low-income families to pay their utility bills. By the end of fiscal year 2000, the Office of Community Services had awarded $30 million in Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Option (REACH) program grants to 24 states and 12 tribal organizations to fund 54 separate projects to help meet the home energy (heating and cooling) needs of low-income households. These grants ranged from $50,000 to $1.6 million. Most of the 54 REACH projects have educated low-income clients about home energy efficiency through group workshops or on individual home visits. Many REACH projects have involved energy-related repairs to homes and budget counseling, and three state REACH projects are developing consumer cooperatives to purchase electricity or bulk fuels, such as heating oil. However, some REACH projects have included social services not directly related to meeting home energy needs. The legislation authorizing REACH identifies the following three performance goals for individual REACH projects, (1) reduce the energy costs of participating households, (2) increase the regularity of home energy bill payments, and (3) increase energy suppliers' contributions to reduce eligible households' energy burden. Of the six project evaluations completed by states as of May 2001, only one project's design and implementation allowed statistically valid conclusions to be made about the effect of project services on participant energy use. The five other state project evaluations had analytical problems and other shortcomings that limited their usefulness in assessing project results. The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet developed a comprehensive plan for how it can best communicate summary information on best practices and lessons learned from the REACH program."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 17, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Residential Energy Assistance: Effectiveness of Demonstration Program as Yet Undetermined, report, August 17, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292122/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.