A New Coalition Forms for Unprecedented U.S. Housing Decarbonization

Rewiring America, Enterprise Community Partners, LISC, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity apply for $9.5 billion in funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund as new entity: Power Forward Communities

For immediate release, October 12, 2023 — Congress’s most far-reaching climate legislation and investment in history, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), has already provided billions of dollars to catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars more investment in our clean energy future. Over the next decade, the IRA could invest up to $567 billion in residential decarbonization alone across 124 million households. The benefits for low-income and disadvantaged communities can be immense, for residents who will be able to lower their utility bills and improve their health with clean, efficient electric technologies, and for homeowners and multifamily building owners who will build equity in their property thanks to structural and efficiency improvements, all while materially lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Responding to the need to rapidly and equitably decarbonize homes and communities nationwide, Rewiring America, Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), United Way, and Habitat for Humanity International are partnering to form a coalition — Power Forward Communities — to apply for $9.5 billion from the IRA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) for residential decarbonization and electrification. Former Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos will serve as CEO of Power Forward Communities.

Because 42 percent of U.S. energy-related emissions are directly influenced by decisions we make about how we heat our air and water, cook our food, dry our clothes, power our cars and our lives — the Power Forward Communities’ application takes a unique, housing- and equity-focused approach to transform the marketplace for decarbonization and home improvement for communities at all income levels, providing significant health, economic, and resilience benefits.

The community-driven, national-scale housing decarbonization program will serve single-family and multifamily building owners and residents through a strategy where over 80% of financial assistance funds will go to low-income and disadvantaged communities — double the National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) target. Specifically, the program will fund projects that:

  • Rapidly convert fossil-fuel appliances and equipment to decarbonized and electrified alternatives while improving homes, including home energy audits, electrical panel and wiring upgrades, smart thermostat installation, weatherization and roof improvements, remediation, heat pump space heaters (which also cool), heat pump water heaters, induction stoves, and electric or heat pump dryers.
  • Deploy rooftop solar, community solar subscriptions, and energy storage resources, making clean energy supply more readily available for building owners and renters everywhere,
  • Install EV charging infrastructure, facilitating broader and faster adoption of zero-emissions transportation, and
  • Include resilience requirements that prepare communities and protect them from rising seas, increasing rain, more frequent heatwaves and other climate hazards.

This application is already supported by 321 partners who have pledged to decarbonize housing units across 46 states and every EPA region in partnership with Power Forward Communities over the seven year life of the program. This includes 94 pipeline and transaction partners like the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, nonprofit housing developer Mercy Housing, Roofstock, and dozens of others who have pledged to decarbonize housing units. It also includes 156 communities pledging to decarbonize housing units, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities, and rural and Tribal communities. Pledges have come from large cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, and Phoenix; rural communities like DeSoto, Georgia and Rural People’s Voice, Washington; and Tribal communities including the Coalition of Large Tribes and the Gila River Indian Community.

Working with community-based organizations and community lenders, the program will reduce the cost of participation by aligning government subsidies, organizing the market for zero-emissions technologies, aggregating demand to ensure availability and make products and services more affordable, and creating an avenue for corporate and philanthropic investment. The program will respond to local priorities and unique needs, provide low-cost financing, invest in workforce development and small businesses, support awareness through planning tools and reliable support services, and build local capacity.

Through all these measures, the strategy would cut the cost to decarbonize housing by more than half, attracting increasing capital and sparking a virtuous cycle of investment in our homes and communities. It would also add units of rental housing with new or extended affordability restrictions.

For more detailed information on the application, including a full list of coalition partners, please see this Fact Sheet on Power Forward Communities.

About the Power Forward Communities coalition

Enterprise Community Partners is a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. We support community development organizations on the ground, aggregate and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at every level of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we have invested $64 billion and created 951,000 homes across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — all to make home and community places of pride, power, and belonging.

Rewiring America was founded in the summer of 2020 and has quickly become the go-to market leader on electrification. Rewiring played the lead role in shaping the residential electrification provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, and is a national leader on shaping electrification policy with federal, state and local partners. Rewiring has deep expertise in market data, building household-facing content and software tools, and pulling together the corporate, civic and community-based partnerships necessary to aggregate demand, reduce friction, and unlock housing electrification at scale.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $29.7 billion to create more than 489,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 81.4 million square feet of retail, community, and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.

United Way Worldwide For more than 135 years, United Way has mobilized communities to action so all can thrive. From advancing health and education to strengthening livelihoods and local resilience, United Way takes a comprehensive approach to every challenge, bringing people together to find a better way forward. With deep local roots and global impact across 37 countries and territories, United Way is positioned to share innovations and scale impact to improve lives around the world.

Habitat for Humanity Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home and pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat can play an integral role in building community awareness and support for electrification as Habitat homeowners help build their own all- electric homes alongside volunteers, while making home ownership healthier and more affordable.

Power Forward Communities is a signatory to the GGRF Awardee Best Practices for Equity and Governance Pledge.

For more information about Power Forward Communities and its application, or for interviews, please contact:

Alex Amend, Rewiring America aamend@rewiringamerica.org 404.457.8937

Stephen Fee, Enterprise Community Partners sfee@enterprisecommunity.org 202.309.8892