This is unwelcome news from the State Department of Human Services as the temperatures start to drop in Michigan:
Due to a potential decrease in federal LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funding for the upcoming fiscal year, the energy caps must be lowered. Therefore, effective October 1, 2010 the caps for energy services provided by State Emergency Relief (SER) will be decreased as follows:
Natural Gas, Wood and other fuel types except fuel oil, propane (LP gas) and coal: decrease from $850 to $350.
Deliverable Fuel – fuel oil, propane (LP gas) and coal – decrease from $850 to $650.
All Electric Household – decrease from $1700 to $700.
Electricity – decrease from $850 to $350.
REMINDER: All pending SER requests should be certified by September 30, 2010, if possible.
The mission of LIHEAP, as described on the michigan.gov website is: to assist low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.
It’s a noble mission. Very much needed in a northern state like Michigan. And I know times are tight and the state budget has been hit six ways from Sunday, but no matter how you look at it, those are some steep cuts in home energy assistance and it means that too many people will be left out in the cold — literally — when the funds run out. That will be incredibly hard on those most in need who have no options to turn to for relief. And now imagine being a baby or person with a disability or adult with incontinence issues trying to sleep in the cold in a WET diaper.
Hopefully we’ll find ways to help people most in need keep warm this winter and maintain livable environments for their families — but let’s for darn sure make sure they’re at least not having to go to bed in a sopping wet diaper!
The Detroit Area Diaper Bank – making a difference with diapers