Heating funds run short


As the federal government tries to curtail its spending by cutting heating aid, many lower income families are struggling to stay warm this winter.

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As the federal government tries to curtail its spending by cutting heating aid, many lower income families are struggling to stay warm this winter.

Oregon’s recession has pushed up the number of families qualifying for the help — typically a one-time payment of about $300 — but so far Lane County has been promised or received less than half of what it has received in recent winters, said Mary Ellen Bennett, the county’s emergency heating coordinator.

The federal handouts have been a staple for many lower-income households for years during the winter, when heating costs soar.

But Oregon’s economic plunge has multiplied the number of families eligible and asking for the aid, said Melissa Torgerson, the state emergency heating aid coordinator. About 430,000 Oregon households are eligible this winter, but even at the height of federal spending one and two years ago, there was only enough money for 22 percent of those households, she said.

Read more at The Register-Guard.

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