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Clean Energy for Low Income Communities: Community Assessment and Barriers Analysis

Before launching a new low-income energy program, and even when building upon an existing program, CELICA partners worked to ensure that the planning around such an effort was data-driven. A preliminary low-income community assessment helped several partners identify key issues and provide valuable data to inform development of existing low-income energy programs and support future program planning as well.

Low-income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool

The LEAD Tool was created with CELICA partners to help state and local stakeholders better understand low-income household energy characteristics. Using data from the US Census, the LEAD Tool allows users to create customizable charts and graphs that compare the type of housing and energy burden of households by income level and housing tenure (i.e., owner vs renter) down to the city and county level. Refer to the LEAD Tool one-pager for a summary. 


Either as part of a community assessment or separately, a barriers analysis helped partners identify gaps in available services and understand underlying conditions that may influence how programs for low-income households operate. A barriers analysis can also help identify additional research needed as part of a planning process and enhance program outreach efforts.

As part of a community assessment and barriers analysis, partners found that engaging with a variety of stakeholders was critical to understanding low-income household needs, goals, and barriers to participation in existing low-income energy programs. The CELICA Stakeholder Engagement section of this toolkit provides information on a range of stakeholders to consider for a community assessment and barriers analysis. 

Elements of community assessment and barriers analysis used by CELICA partners include:

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