Darany to Congress: Don't Leave Mich. Seniors, Families Out in the Cold

Legislator wants to save federal funding that helps struggling residents keep the heat on
Thursday, February 24, 2011

LANSING - State Representative George T. Darany (D-Dearborn) today called on Congress to preserve funding that helps Michigan seniors and families with low incomes pay for their heating bills.

“With so many seniors and families struggling these days, we need to make sure that everyone is able to keep the heat on and stay safe during Michigan’s harsh winters,” Darany said. “While all levels of government must cut costs, Michigan’s hardest-hit residents cannot afford cuts to programs that help them pay the heating bills so they can put food on the table and prevent shut-offs that would endanger them and their children.”

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal block grant that helped more than 8 million families with their energy costs last year. President Obama’s proposed budget includes funding cuts that would eliminate this assistance for an estimated 3.2 million struggling households.

Darany introduced a resolution in the Michigan House today that calls on Congress to reject that proposal and preserve current funding.

In Michigan, federal LIHEAP money pays for three essential programs: the Home Heating Credit, which helps eligible seniors and families pay for heating costs; the State Emergency Relief program, which helps people in economic crisis keep the heat on by paying for fuel, electricity or emergency repairs; and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which makes utility bills manageable for lower-income households and creates jobs for those who install and provide energy-efficiency products and services.

“Michigan’s seniors and struggling families need support to pay rising utility bills during these tough times, and now is not the time for Washington to cut back on that assistance,” Darany said. “I urge the President and Congress to find a better solution that does not put Michigan’s seniors and struggling families at an even greater risk.”