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story.lead_photo.caption Central Missouri Community Action. Photo by File photo

For those least able to afford high energy costs, weatherization might be the solution.

Small projects to make homes more energy efficient have the added benefit of lowering energy bills.

Year round, Central Missouri Community Action provides weatherization services for households below 200 percent of federal poverty income guidelines. But many don't take advantage of the assistance.

CMCA served 13 households in Callaway County last year, helping homes conserve energy by improving efficiency.

"We're long-term, so the work that we do is going to benefit that client for years," CMCA weatherization specialist Molly Carmichael said.

Interested parties must first apply — anyone interested is encouraged to call 573-443-3500.

Because the program is federally funded by the Department of Energy, applicants have to meet certain guidelines based on household income. For a family of three, that means a household income of less than $43,440. The income guideline increases with the size of the household — for a six-person household, the cut-off is $70,320.

"Our auditor goes out and does a complete audit of the house — every single room, every place you could possible think of," Carmichael said. "Looking at insulation, HVAC, the water heater, gas, windows, leaks, appliances "

Once approved, CMCA can help families by adding insulation, ensuring appliances are working efficiently, improving ventilation and replacing bulbs, among other improvements.

Small updates like these add up, helping lower bills.

You don't have to be a homeowner to take advantage of the CMCA program

"We do houses, trailers, apartments, home-owners, renters," Carmichael said.

Renters just need to get written permission from their landlord. Landlords are not expected to financially contribute.

The CMCA program is year-round. In 2021, the organization hopes to assist 160 homes in mid-Missouri.

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