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Additional heating assistance on the way for Minnesotans

The new federal funding, announced Wednesday by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, will help low income families deal with rising energy costs.

WASHINGTON — Low income Minnesotan families can better handle a predicted spike in heating costs this winter with the announcement of $18 million in additional federal help. 

On Wednesday U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced the funding, saying it will help support the Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the needs of families who are challenged in paying their utilities. 

A Klobuchar spokesperson says a vote to continue funding the government on Sept. 30 also approved additional money to aid Ukraine and provide $1 billion in increased heating assistance. Minnesota's share of that amounts to $18 million. The LIHEAP program is run by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Klobuchar's office says more than 127,000 households in the state received assistance with heating and cooling costs last year, with an average of $1,615 being distributed to qualifying households.  

“As Minnesota prepares for winter, families shouldn’t have to choose between heating their homes or buying other necessities,” said Klobuchar in a release announcing the added money. “This federal funding will be critical to helping families and seniors across our state pay their energy bills and keep their homes warm."

“As global energy markets respond to the pandemic and Putin’s war in Ukraine, we need to make sure Minnesotans have the support they need to heat their homes this winter,” Sen. Smith added.

Along with heating bills, LIHEAP can provide financial help with weatherization, equipment repair and replacement and energy education. 

This weekend's plunging temps serve as a reminder that winter and its frigid temps are not far away. For more information on applying to heating help, call Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program at 1-800-657-3710 or visit the LIHEAP website.

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