Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Secures $2 Million Earmark for Housing Repairs in Colonia Communities in Zapata and Webb Counties

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Cuellar secured federal earmark for border colonias rehab program as part of the Appropriations Bill

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148) | Jose Sanz, District Press Secretary (956)-725-0639, April 8, 2022

Zapata, TX – Today, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced $2,000,000 in federal funding for NeighborWorks Laredo to perform housing repairs in colonia communities in Zapata and Webb Counties. The funds will support the weatherization of over 110 homes of low-income families with the aim of providing them with a reduction in energy costs during the hot summer months. 

Repairs will result in an estimated savings of $80/month per family, amounting to more than $500,000 in savings over a 5-year span. 

In addition, Texas will receive $173,162,598 in weatherization grants and technical assistance funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

“During the summer months, high temperatures in South Texas average close to 100 degrees. Air conditioning becomes a basic necessity, leading to a substantial increase in utility bills for low-income families,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This earmark will enable NeighborWorks Laredo to help low-income families lower their utility bills by providing the necessary repairs to make their homes more energy efficient by utilizing the latest weatherization technology. I want to thank Elizabeth Alonso Villareal, CEO of NeighborWorks Laredo, for her commitment to provide equitable housing in our area.” 

Congressman Cuellar continued, “Residents can also apply for additional weatherization assistance funding through the federal governments Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) that we included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” 

Funds from the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) will enable low-income families to reduce their energy bills by utilizing the most advanced technologies and testing procedures in the housing industry. To learn more about the federal government’s Weatherization Assistance Program, click HERE, and to apply for funding, click HERE.

“Zapata County is pleased to announce a new federal grant program designed to help our homeowners with home repairs,” said Zapata County Judge Joseph Rathmell. “Congressman Henry Cuellar has worked tirelessly to secure the funding for Zapata County. We look forward to partnering with NeighborWorks of Laredo in implementing this federal program.  Zapata County appreciates the hard work of Congressman Cuellar and his enduring commitment to the people of this County.” 

 “We were excited to learn of this $2 million dollar grant that will help rehab and weatherize homes in Webb and Zapata Counties,”  said NeighborWorks Laredo CEO Elizabeth Alonso-Villareal. “NeighborWorks Laredo’s mission is to provide and develop affordable housing and this includes making homes livable.  We believe that equitable housing is a basic human right and we are extremely grateful to Congressman Henry Cuellar for working with us to continue our work.  We are thankful to Congressman Cuellar for helping us secure funding for our organization so that we can start working and making a difference in the lives of our community members.  By making homes more weather efficient, the homeowners will in turn save money in energy and that savings can be utilized for basic living necessities.”

Repairs will also address accessibility needs for those disabled with modifications such as entrance ramps, grab bars, and widening of bathrooms. 

The funding was secured through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Economic Development Initiative (EDI).