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Important Changes to Energy Assistance Programs

There are important changes to Michigan's Energy Assistance Programs that are administered by the Michigan Department of Human Servicces this year. Most notably, the programs are moving to a prevention based strategy that focuses on helping at-risk families before the power is shut-off. As a result of these changes, there have been shifts in the dates that energey assistance will be available for families in need.

The Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm and it's partner members are working to ensure that low-income families are aware of these changes. Energy assistance funds to help low-income households will not be available from DHS until November 1, and the majority of outside/non-profit agency funding will be unavailable until December 1.  In the past, funds have been available beginning October 1.

It is important to note that these delays are related to the changes being implemented in our state energy assistance programs, and are not a result of the recent federal government shutdown.

 

Cold weather has already arrived in Michigan and households that are currently behind in their utility paymnets should take the following steps:

  • First, contact your utility company to discuss the options that may be available to you.  Most of Michigan’s local energy companies offer payment programs, installment plans, and other types of assistance to customers that are struggling to pay their bills.
  • Seek other types of non-energy assistance that can help with food, rent, and basic needs to offset utility costs until energy assistance funds are available.
  • Stay safe. If you are using space heaters, generators, or other such means of heating your home, be sure to read all directions for their use and exercise caution: avoid leaving them unattended, ensure they are adequately ventilated, and take all other appropriate safety measures.

How You Can Help!

Wayne Metro accepts donations for utlity assistance all year long to assist families in need in Wayne County. The agency will host our 18th Annual Walk for Warmth event on Saturday, February 15th at Ford Field in Detroit. The Walk is the agency's largest fundrasier and proceeds from that event will support families in need of emergency utility assistance. 

Those interested in participating in the Walk and raising money should contact Erin Southward at (313) 463-5460 for more information. 

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