Local leaders push to stretch heating funds with home improvements
The winter heating season is already upon us and local leaders are calling attention to the need for support for our local fuel assistance agencies. Mayor Gary Doty proclaimed Wednesday as "Weatherization Day" both to raise awareness about local ...
The winter heating season is already upon us and local leaders are calling attention to the need for support for our local fuel assistance agencies.
Mayor Gary Doty proclaimed Wednesday as "Weatherization Day" both to raise awareness about local weatherization programs and to help fuel assistance providers stretch their available dollars through the winter. "Due to the state's financial situation, aid to those agencies who provide heating assistance has been curtailed," he said. "Agencies like the Salvation Army and AEOA are looking for ways to stretch their available dollars."
One of those ways is through AEOA's weatherization program, which allows workers to install insulation where needed, check and repair heating systems as needed, and reduce home heating costs for those in need of fuel assistance. The program helps lower fuel bills and stretches the dollars available to help those in need.
"It is a very important program for us," said AEOA director Martin Lepak. "We need to do everything we can do to help citizens and at the same time, make our available funds last as long as possible."
AEOA also plans to hold its annual "Reach Out For Warmth" fund-raiser later this winter. Thi popular effort is designed to help members of the community who do not meet income guidelines for regular fuel assistance programs. Funds raised are matched dollar-for-dollar by state grants.
To qualify for funds under this program, households must have income at or below 60 percent of the state median income for three consecutive months in the 12 months preceding the request.
With home heating costs expected to be higher this winter than last, organizers say it is important to begin raising awareness before the snow flies. "Duluthians have always been willing to give to help those in need," Mayor Doty said. "Getting the word out now will hopefully allow our citizens to help each other before the need becomes too great."