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HUD faces many challenges when it comes to energy policy. For an overview, see Implementing HUD's Energy Strategy, a report to Congress dated December 2008, that includes a summary of progress toward implementing planned actions [1].

First, utility bills burden the poor and can cause homelessness. There is a Home Energy Affordability Gap Index based on energy bills for persons below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The gap was $34.1 billion at 2007/2008 winter heating fuel prices [2]. The burden on the poor is more than four times the average 4 percent others pay.Twenty-six percent of evictions were due to utility cut-offs in St. Paul, MN.

Second, HUD programs are affected by energy costs. HUD's own "energy bill" - the amount that HUD spends annually on heating, lighting, and cooling its portfolio of public and assisted housing and section 8 vouchers - reached the $5 billion mark in 2007 [3]. Public Housing utilities cost more than $1 billion per year.

Third, energy costs affect economic development. Importing fuel drains millions of dollars from local economies [4].


[1] - See Table on page 13 for planned actions developed by the Energy Task Force.

[2] - See Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, On the Brink 2008; The Home Energy Affordability Gap

[3] - See Table B-1, in "Implementing HUD's Energy Strategy"

[4] - See Energy and Economic Development Phase I | Phase II.