$90 million made available for energy assistance programs

file2231266365543Nearly $90 million in grant money has been distributed among several organizations in Michigan to provide home heating assistance.

Consumer’s Energy, DTE Energy and The Salvation Army are a few of the 14 organizations that received money to provide energy assistance funding to those who need it.

According to Judy Palnau with the Michigan Public Service Commission, there is a new focus with the assistance programs.

“All of these agencies are not merely handing out money to needy folks,” Palnau said. “They are also going to be working with each individual that seeks assistance to help them with things like budgeting and paying their bills on time. The goal is to move people toward self-sufficiency, and that’s actually in the law now.”

In addition, Palnau said families in need can apply in advance if they think they will have trouble paying their bills on time.

Previously, families were not allowed to apply for assistance programs until they received a “shut-off” notice.

The money is expected to be available to the various organizations during the first week of November.

Other organizations that received funding, include:
Michigan Community Action Agency Association (http://www.mcaaa.org/)
The Heat and Warmth Fund (http://www.thawfund.org/)
TrueNorth Community Services (http://www.truenorthservices.org/)