The state’s getting a scheduled infusion of cash from Washington to help with energy assistance, as well as nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in extra emergency funding. Jerry McKim in the low-income heating assistance program LIHEAP says that’s still a drop in the bucket. Even with the release of the additional dollars, McKim says the program has two-Million dollars less than it had last year. McKim says as the temperatures drop, the requests for help increase. He says the annual program opens October first, and from October through December they signed up 60-thousand households, a 25-hundred household increase over year, and he points out what everyone’s noticed, that energy bills are significantly higher than they were last winter. McKim sums up the problem. There’s less money and more people asking for it, which means a smaller benefit — about 285 dollars per household, McKim says, compared with about 310 dollars last year. The onetime aid is still available now for those who sign up. McKim recommends phoning his office at (515) 281-0859 or checking the website www.iowacommunityaction-dot-com.
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