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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Deep freeze prompts reminders for home weatherization aid

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Thursday, January 18, 2024   

Warmer temps may be on the horizon, but arctic air still has a grip on Minnesota.

State officials and community action agencies are pointing out there are resources available for low-income households to keep the heat on and reduce energy costs. The Minnesota Department of Commerce said so far this winter, the Energy Assistance Program has distributed nearly $50 million to people who are eligible, preventing more than 12,000 service disconnections.

Applicants first sign up for help with their monthly heating bill and they can request weatherization work, such as new insulation or furnace repairs.

Jason Foy, housing and weatherization director for Tri-County Community Action, said evaluations are very detailed.

"We're checking the heating system, we're checking your ventilation, we're checking your insulation values, we're checking to see how the air moves in and out of your building," Foy outlined.

He pointed out tightening up such issues means your heating system will not have to run as much. Foy's office noted while demand has been strong, aid is still available. A key challenge in assisting households is finding enough service contractors to help carry out the work.

Foy added it is not just about reducing your energy bill but living in a healthy structure.

"We're ensuring that there's adequate ventilation inside of that home so that you're not always breathing that stale air that may contain viruses or bacteria or mold spores," Foy emphasized.

People who interested can reach out to their local CAP office, the state, or even their energy provider.

The Energy Assistance Program website includes income guidelines. For example, a family of four with a maximum monthly income of $5,200 is eligible. For weatherization, priority is given to the elderly, people with disabilities, and households with children under 19.


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