THAW Provided $11.7 Million in Emergency Assistance During 2008-09 Heating Season

Posted by James / on 06/04/2009 / 0 Comments

Intro
A cold winter and an economy in recession placed thousands of Michigan families in an energy bill crisis over the 2008-09 home heating season.

Responding to the challenge, THAW (The Heat And Warmth Fund of Michigan) and its partner utilities provided more than $11,715,000 in emergency energy assistance to 9,450 residential utility customers throughout Michigan, giving families trying to make ends meet the security of a safe and warm home and assistance in avoiding future crises. The 2008-09 home heating season's total was approximately $787,000 more than in 2007-08.

"THAW and its utility partners help people who are making an effort but have exhausted every other option," explained THAW CEO John X. Miller. "We're working with families that are being forced to choose between keeping the heat on and buying food. We not only assist them through the immediate crisis, but also help them get back on track to avoid future problems."

The average income of a household receiving THAW's assistance this past season was slightly over $18,000 a year. THAW assists families up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level who have exhausted every other option for assistance and who have made good-faith efforts to pay toward an outstanding balance.

"It's a testament to our community spirit in Michigan that we were able to hold the line with our program funding even through a time of great economic uncertainty," said Miller. "While many of our existing supporters had to cut their giving, we were fortunate to build a number of new relationships with family foundations, individual donors and others who allowed us to follow through on our mission. While people are giving less, it's to the credit of the spirit of our communities that more people and organizations are giving whatever they can to help their neighbors in need."

Even with the end of the heating season, however, THAW's work continues in communities throughout Michigan. Some households that were protected from utility disconnection during winter months are now facing shutoff notices as that protection expires, and THAW is helping consumers prepare for the upcoming summer heat, as well as make their homes more energy efficient year-round.

"Hot weather is actually more dangerous, on average, than cold weather," said Miller. "Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to heat waves and every summer brings weather that can create dangerous conditions in our communities."

About THAW:

THAW (The Heat And Warmth Fund of Michigan) is an independent non-profit agency that provides low-income individuals and families throughout Michigan with emergency energy assistance and advocates for long-term solutions to energy issues. Since its inception in 1985, Detroit-based THAW has provided $81.4 million in assistance to more than 133,000 Michigan households, including elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled individuals who found themselves in temporary crisis. During the 2008-2009 heating season, THAW distributed more than $11,715,000 in energy assistance to more than 9,400 households. THAW has been awarded a Four Star Charity Rating (the highest) by Charity Navigator for the past five years. For more information, visit www.thawfund.org.

Source: The Heat And Warmth Fund of Michigan

 

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