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  • Stimulus Waste: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Shoddy Weatherization Work in Texas

    Sheltering Arms Senior Services won a contract worth $22.3 million in stimulus funds to weatherize homes of low-income families in Houston, but a new report from Texas Watchdog reveals the work performed was so shoddy that 33 of 53 homes will need to be fixed.

    The contract, awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is the second largest weatherization contract in Texas, running through March 2012. Yet with nearly two years left on the agreement, Sheltering Arms Senior Services is already under fire after a state report criticized the Houston-based firm.

    Among the problems noted by Texas Watchdog’s Mark Lisheron:

    • The firm spent nearly half of the money on administrative costs, while the legal limit is 5 percent.
    • Spot inspections revealed 33 of the 53 units require workmanship corrections.
    • The firm was asked to refund $5,000 because 15 window replacement jobs did not meet energy savings standards.
    • The state asked for reimbursement for a false claim that a stove was installed┬áin one of the units.
    • Work could not be documented, documents were missing and data was either wrong or incomplete.

    Sheltering Arms was given 30 days to respond, but as of yesterday, it had not addressed the state’s concerns. Read the rest of the Texas Watchdog report.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Stimulus Waste: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Shoddy Weatherization Work in Texas

    1. West Texan says:

      Texas is about free market choice not sloppy federal spending of tax payer money. The latter would be bad enough except for the fact this so called stimulus is for people's home improvements. What happened to personal responsibility? My home's weatherization is essentially duct tape. This hopefully will change when I can afford better. So allow me to scratch my head over this boondoggle.

    2. Lee says:

      1/2 of $22,000,000 in admisistrative costs.

      The other 1/2 to winterize 50 homes.

      Probably some fraud here, but Obama's adminsitratio0n won't pursue it. Too embarassing.

    3. arnold, los angeles says:

      Since 1980, ( in the U.S.), should taxes have increased as population has increased, example— raise taxes to build new roads or raise taxes to maintain existing roads as our population increases? Heritage needs to state what taxes should pay for, then we all can comment.

    4. Paul, Cuero, TX says:

      I serve on a non-profit board that oversees ARRA fund distribution and many others in another part of Texas. The agency we oversee follows strict government guidelines in replying to requests for aid, examining properties, and approving or denying requests. The problem addressed in this article appears to be with a contractor, not the agency itself.

      When a problem arises with a contractor, generating complaints, a responsible agency will deal appropriately with what, I gather, would constitute a breach of contract or failure to fulfill. Such process might take some time. However, an agency that fails to address problems over a reasonable time implies corruption or at least dysfunction within the agency. The fact that agency personnel are trained in social work or administration rather than construction or remediation, of course, holds forth the potential of being duped.

      I believe that the agency I help oversee is responsible and responsive. However, should some such question come up within my jurisdiction, I have no doubt that both I and a majority of my board fellows would be quick to address it appropriately.

    5. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » STIMULUS: Weatherization Waste in Texas….

    6. Lee Ann O'Neal, says:

      Thanks for the link, Mr. Bluey!

      West Texan, have you been following the so-called Cash for Caulkers plan in Congress? It would expand the feds' subsidizing of home improvement work that boosts energy efficiency. It would have a higher income cutoff than the program we wrote about. I've seen mention of a $250K income cutoff. I wonder if you could get a rebate on your duct tape :-) ? …..


      Lee Ann O., Texas Watchdog

    7. Bill Anger, Austin T says:

      I wonder how many of the employees doing the work were illegal immigrants? Probably quite a few if not most.

    8. joey allen says:

      20 year 3rd generation building contractor in rural N. C. Have State License, all business insurance and am also NCCER certified to teach construction courses. Was told a few months ago by a quizi some what non profit but part government agancy in my county that I was not qualified to bid on any of the weatherazition projects because I did not have proper government training on how to install things to make a home weatherized (windows, doors etc) The agencys in house crews were qualified even though they have no contracting license or insurance and a few select firms could bid who had taken the proper government training. Feel like this is probally nation wide. Just another in a line of things to make regular small business suffer.

      Joey allen

      Forest city NC

    9. Austin Dissident says:

      $22.3M to weatherize 55 units? That can't be right.

    10. Pingback: No Serf » Weatherization Waste

    11. TomT says:

      I wonder if the firm was minority or women owned? That is the problem with government contracts, the actual work is only a small percentage of the overall effort. This is why socialism always fails. Large government entities will never focus on what is important. There is too many different agendas.

    12. Mike M says:

      Great bargain for us taxpayers, only $ 420,754 per low income house! Can't wait for November!

    13. MG in Humble, says:

      I didn't think Texas excepted any Stimulus Money.

    14. Yehudit, NYC says:

      is Sheltering Arms an ACORN affiliate?

    15. Jeff Crayton, Flower says:

      And the story is?? A company takes money from the Govt and doesn't do a good job with it. Shocking! Revealing! This is the kind of smoke'em outta their holes reporting that changes the world. Proof positive that those sneaky backdoor-dealing liberals are bumbling dolts. Breathtakingly sinister. Must be illegals doing the work, because regular american folk always do excellent home improvements.

    16. Neal Palmquist - Ohi says:

      Lee said

      "1/2 of $22,000,000 in admisistrative costs.

      The other 1/2 to winterize 50 homes."

      Mike M said

      "Great bargain for us taxpayers, only $ 420,754 per low income house! "

      Why do low income homes in Texas need to be winterized? Are the poor freezing to death because they can't pay the heating bill? Really?

      Now I'm all confused what social problem this stimulus program was supposed to correct. Exactly what was installed into these houses?

    17. Pingback: Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, May 20 2010 « The Daily Bayonet

    18. William Seymour, Hag says:

      The management of these agencies are the problem. Many of them have been doing weatherization work for some 30 years without any real training or supervision. Most inspections are "Passed with remarks" even though large and important things were not done or done wrong or poorly. I am an insider and see quite a bit of arbitrary decisions and we are more defined by what we won't do than what we will. The biggest issue is that we bill 3 times more for the labor than we actually pay the workers. If our "non-profit" didn't have such a big profit margin we could weatherize 3 times more houses. Also the quality of the work that we deliver for $45 – $65 per hour is very low. Sometimes I'm really disgusted. Especially since I believe in weatherization.

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