By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - Hundreds of homeowners across West Texas are one step closer to lowering the energy bill in their houses, and it's thanks to millions of dollars in stimulus money to weatherize their houses. This week, West Texas Opportunities is putting that cash to good use, to help West Texans stay warm.
"It's hard. It's very hard. We have to pick our shots," Robert Pate, a Midland Homeowner, explained. "Everything is a struggle. I mean, we have to sleep in areas, eating areas, it's everything. Everything is planned out proposition living inside of our own home."
Inside Robert Pate's house, it's cold. Very cold.
"When you leave from one room and go into another one, you have to immediately prepare for the adjustment of your body temperature, because you will go from one room where it's cool, into another room where it's like a refrigerator," Pate said.
But help is here, as workers with West Texas Opportunities on Tuesday, started to use their five million in stimulus dollars to help Pate and hundreds others lower their energy bills.
"They have a lot of broken windows," Cheryl Jones, Weatherizing Coordinator with West Texas Opportunities, said. "We are going to come in and replace their windows with low E double pane vinyl windows."
Cheryl Jones is spending much of her time going to houses like these assessing what can be upgraded. In Robert Pate's house, the front door, the refrigerator, and the wall furnace will all be new. Jones said insulation is another way they'll help people stay warm. Just across town contractors were working on blowing insulation into one house's attic.
"Oh, it will make a world of difference," Jones explained. "[Pate] can probably when he cooks breakfast with the insulation and windows, will keep his whole home warm. Just from cooking breakfast, he will use very little heat."
And for an old house with a single dad and two daughters inside, it means everything.
"It gives me, that's not a strong enough word: Sense of Relief," Pate said. "The help that I have been getting from the people here in Midland, Texas, it's beyond reproach. I mean, my heart, I could actually shed a tear without no acting or whatsoever just from the generosity that we have received from the kind of people here in West Texas."
Workers with West Texas Opportunities said it's not too late if you want to sign up for the Weatherizing program. The stimulus money will be used over two years.