DES MOINES, Iowa -- Proposed budget cuts in Washington, D.C. could leave many Iowans in the cold next winter. Among the programs targeted for elimination in the President's Trump's proposed budget is something called the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as (LIHEAP). The program helps low income households pay a portion of their winter heating bill.
Bill Brand is the Administrator of the Division of Community Action Agencies for the Iowa Department of Human Rights, which administers the program. "Often times when families are not able to afford their bills, they have to sacrifice other things in their life: nutrition, medicine, medical care, other bills that they may owe, kind of take a back seat to keeping your heat on in the winter time," said Brand.
Iowa receives more than $53 million a year from the federal government for the program. The funding provides heating assistance benefits to more than 80,000 households in the state. That translates into keeping almost 200,000 Iowans warm each winter.
"If this program doesn`t exist, there will be a lot of families in Iowa who will be making a lot tougher decisions about what bills to pay and risking their health and their safety in order to keep their heat on," said Brand.