President Barack Obama has suggested cutting funding for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program from an authorized $5.1 billion to $2.57 billion for this fiscal year.
...If Congress approves the Obama cuts (it hasn’t voted on the measure), Western North Carolina’s 17 counties will receive $8 million less in LIHEAP funding, according to the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance, a program by the LIHEAP Action Center, a home energy assistance advocacy organization. The losses would come at a bad time – the state has no backup plan for replacing the money. And lots of people out there need help. ...
In fiscal year 2011, [Buncombe County Department of Social Services] helped 15,106 households with $3,376,433 in LIHEAP funds, said Tracie Franklin, lead worker in Buncombe County Department of Social Service’s economic services division. This fiscal year, it expects to help 5,367 households with close to $1.6 million, she said.
That’s a loss of about $1.8 million in one year in Buncombe County alone. ...Read the full article