As summer ends, fears grow about home heating program's funding this winter

09/13/2011 08:18 PM

A federal proposal to cut funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program already has activists and struggling families in Kentucky worried about this winter.

President Barack Obama’s administration has proposed cutting in half the program’s budget from $5.1 billion to $2.5 billion.

That would slash Kentucky’s share from $57.7 million to $26 million.

And with the state strapped for cash, it’s unclear whether the program will be able to match demand from low income families who will struggle to pay their utility bills this winter.

LIHEAP provides cash to people whose income is at or less than 130 percent of the poverty level. Last year, 113,884 Kentucky households received payments totaling $16 million.

The other component of the program kicks in each January to help families whose heat is about to be shut off. Last year, 190,147 Kentucky households received a total of $41 million in LIHEAP crisis payments, as they are called.

With many families still struggling to make ends meet, some of them are concerned that a drastic cut in LIHEAP could leave them out in the cold this winter. Watch the video report:

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