Vt. Officials OK $2.1 Million for Heating Help

Montpelier — Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Emergency Board last week approved an additional $2.1 million in funding to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter, as the state continued to step in to offset cuts in federal funding.

The 2013 Legislature approved $6 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program as part of the annual appropriation bill, with the expectation that additional funds might be necessary. The total amount of funds for this year’s assistance program will be approximately $25.7 million. Funds will be distributed in the first half of November.

No state funds were contributed to the program prior to federal fiscal year 2005. In recent years, federal funds have steadily declined from a high of $38.6 million in 2009 to an expected $17 million for this winter.

“While everyone understands that Vermont, like other states, cannot make up for all of the federal cutbacks coming our way, keeping our needy neighbors from freezing in their homes in the winter has to be a priority,” Shumlin said.