Minnesota was on Thursday, Nov. 18, among four states highlighted for their use of U.S. bailouts to help people pay rent and utilities in the midst of the pandemic.
Biden administration officials praised the state along with Connecticut, Maine and Michigan for their efforts to help people afford their supplies, especially as winter weather has fallen or is about to fall across the states. And they said they would aim to do more to reduce the cost of heating and gas prices for Americans.
Gov. Tim Walz told attendees at the virtual roundtable discussion that Minnesota began working with utilities to help warn customers that they may be eligible for assistance, and to take public information campaigns to various sources to get the message out about the extras. money available to low-income households due to American Rescue Plan funds.
“This is really life and death in many of these decisions, and you’re right, we’re embracing the weather in Minnesota, but minus 40 degrees kills people,” Walz said. “The need is there.”
The price of fuel has risen due to supply chain disruptions and an increase in global demand as the pandemic subsides and the global economy picks up. In Minnesota, it has spurred an increased demand for help paying utility bills.
In the last 45 days, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has disbursed $ 32.5 million in federal funds to more than 28,000 households in Minnesota through the Energy Assistance Program. The program helps low-income people in Minnesota pay their energy bills, and while eligible homeowners and renters can typically receive grants of between $ 300 and $ 2,000, new guidance has raised the ceiling to $ 3,200.
Republican lawmakers in Minnesota ahead of the call Thursday called for Walz to pressure the White House to take steps that could reduce energy costs and relieve Americans.
“Minnesotans deserve meaningful solutions, not patches designed to protect declining polls,” said State Representative Chris Swedzinski, R-Gent.
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