Congress Restores Heating Assistance Program

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(Host) Congress has voted to restore funds to a program that helps keep low income Vermonters warm in the winter.

Vermont faced a possible 40 percent cut in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program – known as LIHEAP.

But the Senate has voted to add $11 million for Vermont’s share of the program. And the House approved the measure last night. Congressman Peter Welch says the bill will provide some help to Vermonters in need.

(Welch) This is going to make a huge difference, but it’s still going to be tough. Because with this money, which is basically level-funding from last year – we’re averting a 40 percent cut – the demand in Vermont is up. We’ve gone from about 20,000 to 27,000 families that are going to need it and get it. But they’re going to have to divide this so that they’re going to end up getting less.

(Host) The average LIHEAP benefit will be reduced from about $1,100 last year to about $660 this heating season.

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