Free voice mail helps the homeless get jobs (subscription- need to register to read, but registration is free): Friday, September 10, 2004 By BOBBY ROSS JR. Associated Press writer DALLAS — After 18 months sleeping on sidewalks and in shelters, Mel Cornelison has a job, and soon might have a place of his own. And he owes it all to voice mail. Cornelison landed his job through free voice mail that is being offered to homeless people and others without phones in cities around the country. The nonprofit Community Voice Mail project provides homeless people with a way for potential employers, social-service agencies and relatives to contact them. It also enables them to apply for a job without having to tell a prospective employer they are living on the streets. Dallas — along with Denver — last month joined a growing list of cities where homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other agencies are offering the service. The program started in 1991 in Seattle and has grown to 37 cities in 19 states, helping more than 47,000 people find jobs and housing last year, according to Community Voice Mail. Agencies in Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit and New York are already taking part. “The intangible that Community Voice Mail provides is hope,” said national spokeswoman Patricia Bonnell. “Without a phone number on your résumé, you can’t get a job.” Hilary Terlouw, a 45-year-old woman from Bellingham, Wash., said she was living in an abandoned trailer with no electricity when she learned about Community Voice Mail three summers ago. She lives in subsidized low-income housing and has a service dog and even a computer, she said. “It just saved my life,” said Terlouw, who battles mental illnesses and physical disabilities. “It really did. If I didn’t have a telephone number to have doctors’ offices or clinics call me back, I don’t know what I would have done. I was truly at the end of my rope at that time.” Before getting voice mail, Cornelison used to put The Stewpot — a soup kitchen and ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas — on his applications. But the last thing an employer wants to do is call a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen, say advocates of voice mail for the homeless. “A lot of shelters have a pay phone that’s in the community area,” said Shannon Stewart, executive director of The Employment Project, which offers voice mail to the homeless in Chicago. “When you ask if John Doe is available, you hear the phone being thrown down and the screaming down the hallway.” Community Voice Mail gives each homeless person a phone number and each records a message. The numbers cannot be used for outgoing calls, but people can check their messages from any regular or pay phone. The service costs the soup kitchen or homeless shelter as little as $7 per number per month. (read next post for more)
“It just makes people feel a lot better about themselves,” said Larry Sykes, Community Voice Mail director at The Stewpot, which hopes to offer more than 2,500 voice mail lines in Dallas within three years. “Unless they tell somebody they’re eating at The Stewpot or sleeping under a bridge, nobody knows it.” In Cornelison’s case, Goodwill Industries was aware of his plight when it used the voice mail system to contact him and offer him a job at one of its warehouses at $5.68 an hour. For now, the 40-year-old Dallas man still lives on the street. “But once I start getting paydays, I’ll be able to not do that anymore,” said Cornelison, who hopes to move into a motel, if not a more permanent home. His hiring has inspired others who frequent The Stewpot. “I think that it is like a domino,” said Pamela Nelson, an art teacher at the downtown ministry. “I mean, that uplifted everybody here.” On the Net: Community Voice Mail ========================== Fair Use Notice This message may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not specifically been authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, religious, spiritual, and social justice issues. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit educational and research purposes, and in the hope that more people will awaken and begin to think for themselves, as is so sorely needed in these times. For more information on fair use, please go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes of your own which go beyond "fair use," we suggest that you obtain permission from the copyright owner." ** ===================================
Sick and Broke
By Elizabeth Warren
Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page A23
Nobody's safe. That's the warning from the first large-scale study of medical bankruptcy.
Health insurance? That didn't protect 1 million Americans who were financially ruined by illness or medical bills last year.
A comfortable middle-class lifestyle? Good education? Decent job? No safeguards there. Most of the medically bankrupt were middle-class homeowners who had been to college and had responsible jobs -- until illness struck.
As part of a research study at Harvard University, our researchers interviewed 1,771 Americans in bankruptcy courts across the country. To our surprise, half said that illness or medical bills drove them to bankruptcy. So each year, 2 million Americans -- those who file and their dependents -- face the double disaster of illness and bankruptcy.
But the bigger surprise was that three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance.
How did illness bankrupt middle-class Americans with health insurance? For some, high co-payments, deductibles, exclusions from coverage and other loopholes left them holding the bag for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs when serious illness struck. But even families with Cadillac coverage were often bankrupted by medical problems.
Too sick to work, they suddenly lost their jobs. With the jobs went most of their income and their health insurance -- a quarter of all employers cancel coverage the day you leave work because of a disabling illness; another quarter do so in less than a year. Many of the medically bankrupt qualified for some disability payments (eventually), and had the right under the COBRA law to continue their health coverage -- if they paid for it themselves. But how many families can afford a $1,000 monthly premium for coverage under COBRA, especially after the breadwinner has lost his or her job?
Often, the medical bills arrived just as the insurance and the paycheck disappeared.
Bankrupt families lost more than just assets. One out of five went without food. A third had their utilities shut off, and nearly two-thirds skipped needed doctor or dentist visits. These families struggled to stay out of bankruptcy. They arrived at the bankruptcy courthouse exhausted and emotionally spent, brought low by a health care system that could offer physical cures but that left them financially devastated.
Many in Congress have a response to the problem of the growing number of medical bankruptcies: make it harder for families to file bankruptcy regardless of the reason for their financial troubles. Bankruptcy legislation -- widely known as the credit industry wish list -- has been introduced yet again to increase costs and decrease protection for every family that turns to the bankruptcy system for help. With the dramatic rise in medical bankruptcies now documented, this tired approach would be no different than a congressional demand to close hospitals in response to a flu epidemic. Making bankruptcy harder puts the fallout from a broken health care system back on families, leaving them with no escape.
The problem is not in the bankruptcy laws. The problem is in the health care finance system and in chronic debates about reforming it. The Harvard study shows:
• Health insurance isn't an on-off switch, giving full protection to everyone who has it. There is real coverage and there is faux coverage. Policies that can be canceled when you need them most are often useless. So is bare-bones coverage like the Utah Medicaid program pioneered by new Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt; it pays for primary care visits but not specialists or hospital care. We need to talk about quality, durable coverage, not just about how to get more names listed on nearly-useless insurance policies.
• The link between j
• The link between jobs and health insurance is strained beyond the breaking point. A harsh fact of life in America is that illness leads to job loss, and that can mean a double kick when people lose their insurance. Promising them high-priced coverage through COBRA is meaningless if they can't afford to pay. Comprehensive health insurance is the only real solution, not just for the poor but for middle-class Americans as well.
Without better coverage, millions more Americans will be hit by medical bankruptcy over the next decade. It will not be limited to the poorly educated, the barely employed or the uninsured. The people financially devastated by a serious illness are at the heart of the middle class.
Every 30 seconds in the United States, someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem. Time is running out. A broken health care system is bankrupting families across this country.
The writer is a law professor at Harvard University.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
Three-year-old Dipak Sarkar breaks stones on the banks of the Mahananda in Siliguri July 1, 2005. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan- fair use for humanitarian purposes
The present monetary system is not worthy of the name John Maynard Keynes. Along with other pressures and people, Keynes influenced governments like that of the U.K. (in early post-war years) to spend plenty on welfare, didn't he? Quite different to Reaganites, Thatcherites and other "neo-liberals" and "economic rationalists"...
Yes... I read a figure of one in six children in the U.S. growing up in poverty (from the Christian Science Monitor)... And what an unjust healthcare and welfare system!
Far better to live in Australia like I do! There is a fairly decent healthcare/welfare system here. And the healthcare system in Canada is fairly decent, too, according to Michael Moore... Sweden is even better than them in all kinds of welfare, I hear... and Cuba and Chile are not that bad in this regard, for third world nations... while Venezuela is improving for the poor....
So much for the USA leading the world
""I don't like being a statistic. It doesn't make me feel great." JENIFER HAYSLEY, who works full time for Bristol Catering and lives in an apartment as part of a program that offers transitional housing for the homeless. (By Arza Barnett, The Courier-Journal)"- fair use for humanitarian purposes http://tinyurl.com/l69wq
daily at Manna Meal, but it is only a temporary reprieve from the harsh conditions outdoors.
The past couple of days have presented extremely difficult circumstances for the most vulnerable members of society. Tuesday brought the coldest readings statewide since Feb. 5, 1996, when several all-time records were set or tied for February, the National Weather Service said.
And today brought three to six inches of snow throughout the state, authorities said.
Every cold winter night brings with it a challenge to Locke as he struggles to stay warm, but he does the best he can.
Some nights he sleeps on a bench bundled in blankets. Other nights he stays with friends throughout Charleston.
Every day he is on the lookout for a place to spend the night.
"To be stranded out one night is normal, but you need a dependable place to go to," he said. "You need a place inside to stay warm. You can be negligent and lose the place you have."
Satosy Santa inside his cubicle at the Next Step homeless shelter in Kakaako. He works part-time as a security guard but still lives in the shelter, unable to afford Hawaii's high cost of housing.
Hello, I am new, just finding out how to connect with others thru Care2.
The topic of homelessness and poverty is close to my heart for many reasons. The bottom line is - it's simply gone too far. Everywhere, every city and town in North America is impacted. Here in Canada our governments set up elaborate systems to supposedly help the poor, but there are so many defeatist aspects to it, it really is a system set up to fail, to keep people stuck in poverty and homelessness. It's NOT WORKING!! My sister who lives in Calgary AB is a street nurse who works with the mentally ill homeless. Every day she sees first hand the injustice of our govt's shortsightedness. I am in Kelowna BC, and have worked for non-profits and other agencies close to these issues. People are being punished for being poor!
I currently have a mild disability and am in the process of re-entering the workforce, and I am astonished at the oppressive barriers our govt puts on its own people - its own human resources - the value of human lives! Without help from family and friends, I would have starved or ended up insane or homeless or both FOR SURE. - All because I got physically sick and had to leave the regular workforce for a couple years! How the govt expects people to live on the peanuts it provides is a sick joke. Children are eating crap-food which starves their immune systems because there's just not enough money to pay rent, and eat, much less buy clothing or see a dentist! Then the govt wonders why our health care system is so strained and inadequate! Anyway we all know the many stories and reasons this has to stop. I dont think it's much different between Canada and the States. Except your population is so much bigger, so there are more affected.
Thank you for letting me vent... My next entry will be solution-focused, I promise!
By Rob Horning | Dealing with contemporary consumerism, capitalism, and the life it permits.June 8, 2007 Desperation as business model
A few days ago, Amanda Marcotte wrote an astute entry regarding this BusinessWeek story about subprime lending and other poverty exploiting rackets. The general gist of the article is that the poor are often in tenuous and desperate situations that make them easy to exploit with usurious interest rates, rent-to-own ripoffs, exorbitant mark-ups and other opportunistic schemes. Just go into a ghetto “grocery store” or check the storefronts in a rundown shopping center on the wrong side of town and you’ll get the picture. Paycheck loans, rent-to-own outfits, dollar stores, Chinese takeout, etc—businesses that set high margins on small-ticket transactions. As Marcotte points out, desperation is an opportunity, as long as you lack the requisite scruples. You can take advantage of the lack of social capital in poor neighborhoods and present your exploitative behavior as a service. Without social capital, without the education to understand complex financial transactions, without legal protections being enforced for them or the political clout to see their interests protected, without the potentially powerful word-of-mouth networks or plain old money to smooth over life’s frictions, the poor have no leverage over the businesses that deign to serve them, and the result is they are served only on vulturous terms. (One of the many ways disparate power among participants distorts the workings of the market, one of the heterodox views of the economists Chris Hayes considers in this Nation story.)
Insecurity in general is the basis of a lot of retail business, which is why so many ads are designed to generate feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. The poor, of course, don’t need ads to make them feel insecure, which makes them a cost-effective target —though ads are part of the discourse that establishes what is culturally normal, defining what it means to be impoverished. The bogus premise of equal opportunity is widely enough held in America that the poor must keep up appearances lest it seem that their poverty is their own personal fault. Of course, to keep up, they must take on risks and terms that sink them in debt traps and assure their continued failure to achieve the bourgeoisdom the signals normalcy—that allows you to feel that you are the target of so much of the media’s messages. The added bonus is that the working poor assume responsibility for their poverty as a kind of personal, moral failure—this is what The Hidden Injuries of Class, by Sennett and Cobb, is all about.
We can fault business for following their incentives to profit at the expense of those with little defense and no social safety net, but it seems the counterveiling power of government is more likely to correct the problem then a sudden and complete change of heart among competitive firms. But politicians rely on business contributions to finance their campaigns, which leads to legislation that rewards business (the recent bankruptcy bill exemplifies this). So without any institutional power, the working poor has no reason not to seize the only form of power left to them. From Marcotte’s entry:
Charles H. Green points out that this untenable exploitation of the working poor has become such a morally troubling issue that up-and-coming capitalists are beginning to turn on the system.
“One healthy sign: my 30th reunion at Harvard Business School last fall. The most heavily attended lecture was by Professor Bruce Scott, who spoke about the global trend toward concentration of wealth. We’re moving toward looking like Rio de Janeiro—armed gated communities surrounded by violent gangs. Scott’s lecture got a standing ovation—both in his lecture room, and in the audio-connected overflow room, hastily put together to accommodate the crowd. This from the old school crowd at HBS—the West Point of capitalism. There is hope.”
It’s an interesting dilemma, from the capitalist point of view. Keeping the poor living from paycheck to paycheck and in constant debt serves two purposes. From the article, you can see that it’s actually quite profitable, especially in a deregulated era like ours. Second of all, desperation breeds complacency, to a degree. Workers who are constantly treading water and robbing Peter to pay Paul are likely to suffer all sorts of indignities to keep their jobs, including taking lower pay than they’re really worth if it means securing the jobs that much more quickly. But it has to be controlled desperation—there’s a tipping point where the poor are so much in debt to the rich that they simply can’t pay it all back and the system could collapse on itself. It’s happened before in history, many times, and it can happen again. Opposition to usury isn’t just about morals, but protecting a system that ultimately benefits the rich by keeping a check on the excesses that threaten the entire situation.
Very depressing, that, and the classic dilemma of all ameliorating, incrementalist approaches to social change: You end up perpetuating systems of oppression, making them more tolerable for the oppressed. But then you consider how much misery, chaos, and evil the typical revolution unleashes, and it’s hard to think of any course of action worth advocating.—Rob Horning 3:02 pm
It's a constant struggle, even though Gardner holds a full-time job as a hospital food service worker, dishing up trays of pizza, pot roast and beef stroganoff for patients.
"There's a manufactured home selling for $7,500, and I can't even afford that," says Gardner, 54, of Salem, Ore., who earns $1,200 a month. "I have a good job, but I have to choose between buying gas or getting food. It's very hard."
Food server. Home health care worker. Grocery clerk. These are the kind of bread-and-butter jobs that once sustained a family with decent benefits and solid wages. Today, these jobs are more likely to bring a life of poverty.
The ranks of the working poor are swelling as more families slip into poverty, health benefits are lost and low-wage employees bear the brunt of many corporate cutbacks. That means more employees — many of them in service jobs that are essential to the economy — are working full-time, only to find they can barely support their families.
They wait tables at restaurants where they can't afford to eat, wash cars but can only take the bus and care for children but don't make enough to hire a babysitter. About 35 million Americans lived in poverty in 2002, which is 1.7 million more people than in 2001, according to Census data. The federal poverty threshold for a family of four in 2002 was $18,392 in annual income.
Nearly 40% of working-age poor people were employed, and the percentage working full time all year increased 45% from 1978 to 2002.
"There is a systematic ratcheting down of jobs that once could support a family," says Greg Denier, a spokesman with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. "The real question is, what does this mean for the future of the American worker?"
The fate of the working poor is becoming a major issue for politicians, union groups and activists who are now calling for reform. Unions are launching membership drives and protests — part of an effort to preserve benefits and boost pay for service-sector jobs in much the same way that union muscle helped raise the standard of living for manufacturing workers in the mid-20th century.
The rise in low-wage workers is also a catalyst for activists who are waging campaigns to pass living-wage ordinances, which are local laws that require some businesses to pay employees more than the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. The grass-roots effort is having an impact. So far, more than 120 ordinances mandating living wages have been passed. In San Francisco, a citywide wage of $8.50 an hour went into effect in February.
The increase is shaping new public dialogue about poverty in America. Philip Coltoff, who is chief executive of the philanthropic Children's Aid Society, looks out of the window of his Park Avenue South office in New York. Bike messengers, taxi drivers and street vendors hawking hot dogs and ball caps populate the street. These people, he says, are the new faces of the working poor.
"This is a very interesting sociological change. We've created a new class of poor. There is this huge group of people who want to work, who are working, but it's a form of being indentured," Coltoff says. "America has always been built on the belief that you can do better, but we have shut down the ladder to the middle class."
Sherry Byrum, 48, feels there is no way up. The Spokane Valley, Wash., woman works full time at a day care, earning about $9 an hour, and earns $8.43 an hour providing home care for a disabled girl. The number of hours she works each week varies; health insurance costs $71 a week.
The work is emotionally fulfilling, she says.
"When a child gives you a hug or draws you a little scribble, it means everything in the world," Byrum says. "These are important jobs. You're dealing with people's lives."
But it's financially frustrating. Her husband just had open heart surgery and doesn't work, so she brings in the only income. They live in a 30-year-old mobile home and get their groceries at a local food bank. They also have medical costs because both are diabetic.
"Last week, we went several days without really eating. We've got to pay our bills," Byrum says. "I can't buy us the things we should eat because of the diabetes. There are some times I go to bed in tears thinking I just can't do it all."
There are a host of reasons why jobs that once paid decent wages today provide an impoverished lifestyle, economists say.
The value of the minimum wage, in real dollars, peaked in the late 1960s. That means workers today who earn minimum wage have less buying power than in years before. The inflation-adjusted value of the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage is at least 24% lower today than it was in 1979, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit Washington-based think tank. A full-time worker earning minimum wage would earn $10,712 a year, below the 2002 federal poverty line of $11,756 for a family of two.
"Wages have eroded and haven't risen with productivity," says Jared Bernstein, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute. "Many occupations that a decade ago afforded a living wage are now low wage."
In addition, global competition has intensified profit pressures, causing companies to squeeze wages to cut costs. Unions are not as pervasive as they used to be, which means workers have less clout. Some economists say immigration has added to the labor force supply, causing downward pressure on wages. Immigration has reduced the average annual earnings of male workers born in the USA by $1,700 over the last 20 years, according to new research by the Center for Immigration Studies. The research indicates that immigration increases the supply of labor, which reduces wages.
While welfare rolls have dropped by more than 50% since 1994, many of these former recipients have moved into jobs that pay low wages — compelled by welfare reform in the 1990s that required many of those who received welfare to work. These are employees who hold jobs as security guards, hotel workers, home health care aides, receptionists, food processors, data-entry clerks, call-center operators, telemarketers. Many are also in home health care or child care workers.
"Those are jobs that used to be unpaid labor done by women who stayed home. They took care of the children and the elderly," says Marnie Goodfriend, with the Service Employees International Union. "They have transferred to the marketplace, but people can't survive on those jobs."
Danielle DaSilva, 25, believes change is needed. She works part time as a restaurant hostess, earning $6.65 an hour, although she wants to work full time. She is also raising two daughters, Jade, 5, and Alana, 2. She owns her own home, but is struggling to make her monthly mortgage payments of $815. Her mother often watches her children while she works, and her children get health insurance through Medicaid.
"It's awful, it's really awful," says DaSilva, of Kissimmee, Fla. "I work very hard, nine-hour shifts a day. I'm not one of those people who wants to leech off the system. But my children have to live off macaroni and cheese and bologna. It's ridiculous. My kids suffer."
There are other challenges. For low-wage workers, many of the benefits available to higher earners are out of reach. Consider paid time off. More than half of poor workers, working welfare recipients and workers who recently left welfare are unable to take paid leave from their jobs because it's not offered, according to research by the Urban Institute.Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Wash day:Latwanda's daughter, Timara Manson, 13, loads laundry at a neighborhood laundromat in the Bronx.
While lower interest rates have made homeownership more affordable for many, runaway prices have put homes out of reach for working poor. In the past 12 years, home prices have risen 30% faster than wages and salaries for low-to-moderate-income families, according to an April report by the Milken Institute.
While the economy has created nearly a million jobs since March, the pace of job creation has previously been slow — taking a toll on lower-wage workers who often lack college degrees.
"There's no way of rationalizing a CEO making millions of dollars when workers don't get enough to support themselves. Something seems wrong," says Beth Shulman, author of The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans and their Families. "Low-wage workers are subsidizing our lives. We can make better choices that really improve these jobs."
Latwanda Manson, 35, says change could bring her better and more affordable health insurance or wages — a lifestyle where she wouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.
Manson, a secretary, earns $30,000. She is a single mother in New York raising her daughters, Taia Bell, 5, and Timara, 13. Health insurance for her family costs her $75 every two weeks."I struggle constantly," she says. "Your children come to you and want things, and you can't give it to them. That's hard. I have to say, 'Give Mommy another two weeks.'
Hope it's okay to post this here - from my group, Oregon Homeless Community Aid.
Economic stimulus plans addresse issues faced by all low income families and individuals. And yes, this would affect the homeless or housing insecure as well.
Most of my homeless clients qualify for nothing but food stamps; most of those housed will be needing help with utility bills this winter. For those on Section 8 or in public housing, losing utilities could mean losing their housing since it is typically part of the housing contract that utilities be on/maintained at all times.
Congressional Outlook: * Action on another economic stimulus
package could come in November during a Lame Duck session. The
Senate is set to reconvene November 17th; the House, which has not
ruled out reconvening in October, also is likely to meet in
November. Numerous House Committees are holding fall hearings
focused on aspects of the economic crisis and possible responses.
*Pending Economic Stimulus Nutrition Provisions:* House Democratic
leaders may seek additional action on economic recovery this fall or
early next year. If so, the package could be larger than that
passed in September (H.R. 7110). *H.R. 7110* provides $2.6 billion
for a temporary Food Stamp/SNAP benefit increase based on 105
percent of the Thrifty Food Plan; $50 million would support state
costs for administering those benefits. *S. 3604* was offered in
the Senate in September but could not garner the 60 votes to cut off
debate; it proposed $5 billon for a 10 percent increase in Food
Stamp/SNAP benefits through FY 2009; $450 million for the
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
(WIC); $50 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program
(TEFAP); $30 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
(CSFP); $60 million to help senior meals programs.
*Take Action:* Contact Members of Congress while home in the district this October.
Simply go to http://www.govspot.com/ then click on "Legislative Branch" in the left hand column. Simple and quick! Both Washington DC and local contact information should be available.
*Message: * Urge Members of Congress to push in October or in a
November Lame Duck session for approval of an economic recovery
package that includes: a temporary increase in SNAP/Food Stamp
benefits; SNAP/Food Stamp administrative support; increased funding
for WIC, CSFP, and TEFAP; state fiscal relief; Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Head Start; Child Support
Enforcement; Unemployment Insurance and other programs that support
families in need.
*Background:* For information on the human needs community's
priorities for action this fall, see "Towards a Shared Recovery:
Congress Must Do More to Reverse the Recession," posted at
Subject: HHS RELEASE--LIHEAP FUNDS
Date: October 16, 2008
For Release: Immediately
Contact: ACF Press Office
Headline: More Than Five Billion Dollars Released Under LIHEAP
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the release of $5.1 billion
from the federal government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) under the Fiscal Year 2009 Continuing Resolution. The funds
will assist states, territories, tribal areas and the District of
Columbia with addressing their energy needs, particularly for the
upcoming winter season.
"The release of these funds will help low-income families stay warm this
winter," Secretary Leavitt said. "These funds will also help reduce the
risk of health and safety problems exacerbated by exposure to extreme
LIHEAP funding is provided to states through the Office of Community
Services in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at HHS.
The funds will assist eligible low-income households in meeting their
heating and other energy needs.
"The funds released by the Bush Administration will help our most
vulnerable citizens, including the disabled, elderly and children," said
Josephine Robinson, director, Office of Community Services at ACF.
Under the language of the Continuing Resolution, $4.5 billion in block
grant funds and $590 million contingency funds must be released by Oct.
30, 2008. Block grant funds will be allocated to states under a formula
specified in the Continuing Resolution. Of the $590 million in
contingency funds, $100 million will assist states where large numbers
of eligible households use heating oil for heat: Alaska, Connecticut,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The
remaining $490 million will help individuals in all 50 states.
For a complete list of state allocations of the funds released today go
Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact
their local/state/LIHEAP agency. For more information, go to
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.