PITTSBURGH, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dollar Energy Fund, Pennsylvania's largest hardship fund, commends the Pennsylvania State Senate for unanimously voting to approve Senate Resolution 165 earlier this week. The resolution directs the Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on the administrative efficiency of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
"We appreciate all of the bi-partisan work done by our State Senators to advance this important legislation, especially the prime sponsors Senators Fontana (D-Allegheny) and Pippy (R-Allegheny), as well as the 24 co-sponsors," says Cindy Datig, Dollar Energy Fund's chief executive officer. "We believe this will be an eye-opening study on the effectiveness of LIHEAP's administrative functions and operations. Any improvements resulting from this initiative will directly benefit the hundreds of thousands of low-income families in our state who seek heating assistance each year."
The study will examine key areas of the LIHEAP program, including average time for application processing and grant notification, staffing needs on both state and county levels, number of application intake sites, use of the PROMISe system, supplemental payments, mailing and paper application costs, eligibility requirements, and overall program effectiveness to ensure the Commonwealth's LIHEAP funds are maximized to help with energy needs.
"Households who need LIHEAP are struggling to keep their families warm during the cold winter months. It is unfortunate when they must also struggle through an inefficient process of applying for resources that are in place to give them relief," said Datig. "We are grateful to the Senate for investigating the program to determine what improvements can be made and are hopeful that the issues within the system will be resolved to benefit the state's most vulnerable citizens."
Last year, over one half million low-income Pennsylvanians received assistance with their heating bills through the LIHEAP program. For many, the support keeps them from situations where they would be forced to make decisions between heating their homes and providing their families with other necessities, such as food and prescriptions.
Dollar Energy Fund has been working to help low-income households afford gas, water and electric utility service for over 28 years. Dollar Energy Fund partners with 13 utility companies across Pennsylvania to administer the Hardship Program. Last year, the Hardship Program helped nearly 11,000 low-income families in the state meet their basic utility needs with more than $3.9 million in utility assistance grants, guiding over 32,000 individuals including children, adults, and seniors on the path to reaching self-sufficiency.
Senate Resolution 165 passed the Senate unanimously on 11/1/11 and was co-sponsored by 26 of the 50 Members of the Pennsylvania Senate: Fontana, Pippy, Rafferty, Costa, Alloway, Earll, Erickson, Farnese, Schwank, M. White, Pileggi, Browne, Ferlo, Stack, Yudichak, Boscola, Brubaker, Mensch, Blake, Hughes, Wozniak, Yaw, Brewster, Tartaglione, Ward and Leach.
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund, visit www.dollarenergyfund.org.
About Dollar Energy Fund, Inc.
Dollar Energy Fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization in the state of Pennsylvania. Since 1983, the organization has provided over $84 million in utility assistance grants to more than 300,000 low-income families and individuals. The organization also assists low-income households in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisiana and Texas. Individuals interested in contributing to Dollar Energy Fund can do so through their utility bills, by sending donations directly to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 or through the organization's website. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund's website, www.dollarenergyfund.org.
SOURCE Dollar Energy Fund