Delayed heating assistance funds worries residents - WNEM TV 5

Delayed heating assistance funds worries residents

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

People relying on a gift of warmth to make it though the harsh Michigan winter are getting the cold shoulder from the state capital.

A grant that provides heat assistance statewide is stuck in Lansing.

"It's incredibly concerning because the vulnerable populations we serve, families with young kids, seniors. It's assistance they really rely on," said Eva Rohlman, outreach services director at Mid-Michigan Community Action.

The lack of federal funds for heating assistance programs is causing some concern in Mid-Michigan.

"Typically we have the money in our hands to serve people by October. So as the weather begins to get cold we can make sure that houses are warm, that propane tanks are full, that wood piles are stocked," Rohlman said.

She said by this time of the year they have about $1.2 million in funding to provide heating assistance to people in Clare, Gladwin, Mecosta, Osceola, Bay and Midland counties.

"We had about 100,000 to serve across a six county," Rohlman said.

She wonders if they will get the money in time, but she remains hopeful.

"It sounds like it's on its way. We have heard that it's been cycling from the federal government to the state government and then it should be in our hands. It is promised to us," Rohlman said.

As the temperatures continue to dip and snow not far behind, her concerns continue to grow.

"An empty propane tank in this area can be deadly for a family. So we wanna make sure they get the assistance they need to stay warm," Rohlman said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the state was unable to apply for the funding until a couple of weeks later than normal this year.

Last week Michigan received its initial award letter from the federal government saying the state is receiving $140.9 million, MDHHS said.

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