Fighting for Ohio’s home heating assistance funds

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Fighting for Ohio’s home heating assistance funds

WOIO – With winter fast approaching and the price of heating oil projected to be 10% higher this winter than last, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will visit the home of a Cleveland-area senior citizen to stand against a proposed plan in the U.S. House of Representatives that would result in Ohio receiving a far smaller portion of home heating assistance funds than it would under a Senate proposal.

Bills in the House and Senate both contain similar funding levels for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but the proposed House plan makes allocation changes that would result in Ohio and other colder-weather states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, receiving a smaller fraction of the funds. The Senate plan has already cleared the Appropriations Committee and relies on a formula that has been used since 1980 to emphasize the needs of colder-weather states like Ohio. Under the Senate proposal, Ohio would receive nearly $173 million in LIHEAP funds, but under the House plan, the state would receive approximately $157.4 million-meaning Ohio seniors would lose out on more than $15 million in home heating assistance funds.

Brown will be joined by Liz Hernandez, Director of Property Services at the Cleveland Housing Network, and several Ohio seniors who depend on LIHEAP to make ends meet in the winter months. They will call for the passage of the Senate version of the bill, which would ensure that Ohio receives the maximum share of available LIHEAP funds. Further cuts to the LIHEAP program could result in Ohio seniors receiving smaller award amounts to help heat their homes this winter or denied assistance altogether. In 2010, approximately 426,410 Ohio households received home heating assistance through LIHEAP.

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