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Sen. Ragan says emergency heating funds will help struggling families

From Sen. Amanda Ragan –

Amanda Ragan
Amanda Ragan

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved additional help for low-income Iowans struggling to pay their home heating bills during this exceptionally cold winter.

SSB 3137 would provide $2 million to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps offset heating costs for low-income families. The additional money will help address issues, including fixing broken furnaces, financial hardships, and carrying out emergency fuel deliveries for families in need.

Last year, LIHEAP assisted more than 85,000 Iowa households. As of December, more than 60,000 households had already received assistance through LIHEAP this fiscal year.

The supplemental assistance approved in the Senate is due to the spike in propane fuel costs. About 10 percent of LIHEAP recipients depend on propane to heat their homes. Throughout Iowa, propane is three to four times the usual price. Usually, propane is about $1.79 a gallon. A two week winter supply of propane (typically around 150 gallons) would cost over $800.

The federal government is also responding to the need. The U.S. Department of Human & Health Services released a second LIHEAP appropriation of close to $7.5 million to help Iowa families heat their homes during this cold weather.

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