COMMUNITY LEADERS: PASS EMERGENCY FUNDS TO HELP IOWANS COPE WITH PROPANE CRISIS

Des Moines, Iowa – Two community leaders working to keep Iowans safe during the propane crisis encouraged state lawmakers to approve $1 million quickly to help Iowans struggling to keep their homes warm.

“I’ve never witnessed such a devastating hardship for our low-income families.  Earlier this week, we provided assistance to an elderly couple living on a fixed income but the balance on their bill was still over $1,000, which is more than their monthly income,” said Julie Heck, who runs the Red Rock Community Action Agency based in Indianola.  “The emergency funds we have now are not enough and will run out soon. We can’t leave our fellow Iowans, friends, and neighbors out in the cold.”

“If families are facing a home heating crisis and need to use electric space heaters, they should make sure they do not overload the system or attempt to heat their whole home,” said Wayne Sawtelle of the Iowa Professional Fire Fighters.  “If homeowners are using a liquid fuel space heater, be sure it is properly vented so fumes go outside and never re-fuel the space heater if it is hot. The liquid fuel space heater should also be refueled outdoors.”

On Wednesday, lawmakers filed House File 2075 to add an emergency $1 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that will help propane users heat their homes.

“It’s clear we need to take quick action and make sure assistance is available to Iowans for the rest of winter.  I encourage Iowans who need assistance to contact their local community action agency and avoid dangerous practices that can put their family at risk,” said Rep. Joe Riding of Altoona.  “If we work together, we can minimize the impact of the crisis and keep Iowans safe.”

To apply for home heating assistance, Iowans can go to their local Community Action Agency (CAA) or log on to www.iowacommunityaction.org.  Iowans can also call 1-877-565-4450 for more information.

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