In response, SOUL began a campaign to get the State of Illinois to create a “green jobs” program that would hire people to do home weatherization in low-income urban areas across the state. Working with South Side and South Suburban state legislators, SOUL created a program called the Urban Weatherization Initiative which was passed in July 2009 as part of the state capital bill. The program has three main elements:
- Provides $425 million for people in urban areas with 20% of the population living in poverty to have their homes weatherized at no cost to the homeowner or landlord
- Requires that organizations and contractors doing this weatherization hire people from the communities in which the weatherization is taking place
- Provides funding for weatherization training so that people without experience in weatherization can learn the trade and get hired
This program has been passed into law, and now the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is deciding how exactly the program is going to work. SOUL is working to create partnerships with contractors, nonprofit organizations, unions, training providers, and people who want to get jobs in weatherization, so that together we can make sure that the Urban Weatherization Initiative is successful in getting living-wage jobs for people for the South Side.
For more information or to get involved, contact SOUL at 773.363.0199
People with some construction skills are particularly encouraged to call!