December is a time of celebration—gift giving, good food, visiting family. But for many low-income Michigan households, December can be bleak.
Low-income Michigan families spend a disproportionate amount of their take-home pay to meet their energy needs every month. When the temperatures drop severely during the coldest winter months—like December—some households have to choose between meeting their home energy needs and other essentials, like rent, food, or medicine. For them, life becomes more about surviving than celebrating. That’s not fair—and it’s not right.
Thankfully, here in Michigan and across the country, low-income households can get federal energy assistance through LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
LIHEAP was established in the early 1980s (it replaced a similar program called the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program). It distributes funds from the federal government to states like Michigan (as well as tribal and territorial governments). These governments then allocate the funds to low-income families to help with home heating costs, as well as home weatherizing and emergency funds during times of especially dangerous weather.
LIHEAP Saves Lives
LIHEAP subsidizes the home heating costs (and cooling costs in the summer) of qualifying low-income families so they can stay safe and warm during our long winters. Here in Michigan, we experience some of the coldest winter temperatures in the nation, so keeping the power on can literally become a matter of life or death.
LIHEAP is a vital, life-saving resource for low-income Michiganders, including seniors, children, and the disabled:
LIHEAP Funding Gap
Unfortunately, the amount of money allocated for LIHEAP by Congress isn’t enough to meet the needs of all low-income households. In 2016, the Alliance for Michigan Power will continue to advocate for full funding of LIHEAP, so all Michiganders can enjoy warm and safe winter seasons. Stay tuned—we’ll be discussing LIHEAP and what you can do to help in the coming weeks and months.
Do you or does anybody you know need home heating assistance? Click here to see if you qualify.