State reminds residents of heating assistance as temps drop
ST. PAUL -- With the recent subzero temperatures hitting communities across the state, the Minnesota Commerce Department is reminding residents about the Energy Assistance Program to help pay heating bills.
According to a press release, there's still time to apply for those who haven't yet. The program serves households that earn less than 50% of the state's median annual income. For example, the release cites $52,014 for a family of four.
The program helps low-income homeowners and renters with heating bills through grant money paid directly to their utility companies for heating fuel vendors. The funds are also available to help some homeowners repair or replace malfunctioning heating systems.
Minnesota received more than $105 million in November from the federal Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program for 2020, the release said.
Last year, the state program served about 126,000 Minnesota households with an average grant of about $545. Those households included nearly 58,000 seniors, more than 38,000 children, over 62,000 people with disabilities and more than 8,000 veterans.
"Energy assistance is an essential safety net that can help vulnerable Minnesotans avoid the cruel choice between buying food or medicine and paying the heating bill," Steve Kelley, commerce commissioner, said in the release. "Heating your home is a necessity in Minnesota, and we don't want anyone's health or safety put at risk because they can't afford to pay for heat."
Funding through the program is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Residents can contact the Commerce Department by phone at (800) 657-3710 or online at mn.gov/commerce/eap.jsp .