FL County Refuses Federal Energy Aid To Felons


The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Brevard County, Fl., for refusing to weatherstrip a convicted sex offender’s home, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Raymond Houston, 45, who is disabled and living on a fixed income, meets all of the requirements for the Weatherization Program, a federally funded energy-conservation effort. Brevard leaders barred funds from going to felons. “We only have so much money to go around, maybe $10,000 or $20,000,” Brevard County Commission Chairman Ron Pritchard said. “The list of applicants far exceeds the amount of money, and I’m not about to use scarce resources on somebody who was convicted of such a heinous crime.”

Houston was convicted in 1994 of lewd and lascivious acts on a child younger than 16. He was sentenced to 4 1/2 years of probation. “This is just more posturing by Florida politicians to look tough on crime and on people with past felony convictions,” said the ACLU’s Howard Simon. “What does denying funds to low-income people to save on energy costs have to do with fighting crime?” The federal Energy Conservation and Production Act offers help to low-income residents to encourage energy conservation. The U.S. Department of Energy says qualification for assistance should be based solely on income.

Link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-sexoffender2706jan27,0,6360749.story?coll=orl-h

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