The state’s heating assistance program will likely run short again this year. Yesterday, November 1st, was the first day poor and elderly Iowans could sign up for Iowa Low-Income Heating Assistance Program benefits for the coming winter. Program planner John Burnquist says some families are still trying to pay off last winter’s bills.Last year, 83-thousand Iowans applied for state heating help, 20-thousand more than the year before. Program planner John Burnquist says they weren’t prepared, so about 18-hundred didn’t receive any help last heating season.Burnquist says Congress may put more money into the heating program this year, but unless the state does, too, his agency will have even less to hand out this year than it did last year. He says they continue to receive letters from people who’ve never applied for assistance before.Burnquist says to make their money stretch, they’ll lower the average payment to each family. Last year’s average payment was just over five hundred dollars. That’s for the whole season, not a per month payment.
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