North Dakota receiving record funds for home heating costs
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota is getting a record $46.4 million from the federal government to help low-income residents cover heating costs this winter, which is more than twice what the state gets in a typical year.
The Biden administration is distributing an additional $4.5 billion nationwide for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and cold-weather states are receiving the largest share. Minnesota received nearly $274 million in home energy assistance for needy residents.
The funding boost is part of last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan coronavirus relief package. It has more than doubled the normal funding level of the program nationally.
North Dakota’s annual appropriation is $19.3 million, with an additional $27.1 million coming through the American Rescue Plan. It’s the most the state has ever received for federal heating help, according to the White House.
North Dakota’s Department of Human Services is considering using the additional federal money to enhance home energy efficiency services statewide, according to Michele Gee, director of the agency’s Economic Assistance Division.
The program overall last year helped about 12,800 North Dakota households, providing an average of $890 in assistance during the heating season.
“North Dakota’s winters are harsh, and this year people are dealing with inflated home heating costs,” Gee said in a statement to The Bismarck Tribune.