Energy Assistance Funds In Danger Of Running Out
This year the government gave the center the lowest funding possible, about $3 million. This is half of last year's funding which was about $5 million. Community services supervisor Adam Tipton said he hopes the government will provide more funding.
"We're concerned that we are now just starting to get into the winter season and we're concerned about running out of those crisis funds right in the middle of dead winter which will probably happen," Tipton said.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is divided into two parts. Energy assistance is the first part and is based on a household's income. Once a person receives all he or she can from energy assistance, they are moved to the second part, the Energy Crisis Intervention Program. This program provides assistance to those in danger of having their services terminated during the winter months. Both programs faced budget cuts. The funds for these programs are provided November through March.
Tipton said if funding runs out, the center will continue to provide other services such as tips on employment and weatherization.
One resident said she sees people in the center all the time who will be impacted greatly. She said she's a bit worried about what other avenues they will have to pursue because the funding at the center is, right now, their only hope in paying off heating bills.
"It is very difficult when your lights or utilities are off and your bills keep piling up on you," Tipton said. "It's very hard to get your utilities reconnected."