Advocates: Michigan Legislature should act before people left cold

Nov 16, 2011

The federal government has proposed dramatic cuts to home-heating assistance.

Susan Sherer, CEO of the Heat and Warmth Fund, said that cut for Michigan could be as much as $120 million.

“By removing $120 million that was available last year to serve customers, most certainly people are literally going to be left out in the cold,” said Sherer.

Advocates for the poor say the state Legislature needs to make sure people in low-income households do not have their heat turned off this winter.

Scott Dzurka is with the Michigan Association of United Ways, which is part of a coalition of groups pushing for heating assistance funding.

“Our interest is making sure that the residents and families in the state of Michigan are warm this winter season,” said Dzurka.

Dzurka said the state Legislature needs to ensure home-heating assistance will be available before lawmakers leave for a winter break in December.

The state fund for home heating assistance is also caught up in a court fight and cannot be touched. State lawmakers are trying to come up with a plan.