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Keep Michigan Warm Coalition focused on community strategies, helping families through winter challenges

Members meeting with legislators to raise awareness on need for energy assistance

DETROIT, Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm members are meeting with state lawmakers on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the state Capitol to raise awareness about the energy assistance needs of Michigan's low-income households. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder issued a formal proclamation designating February 2015 as Keep Michigan Warm Month.

"The Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm does great work to support our most vulnerable residents during the coldest months," Snyder said. "Winters in our state can be harsh and it is important that we continue working together to find lasting solutions in an effort to keep all of our families, children and seniors warm, dry and safe."

Coalition Chairperson Shaun Taft said it is estimated that more than 600,000 Michigan households received some type of state, private, and federal funds for home heating assistance in 2014.  Nearly twice that many are eligible for some type of agency or program assistance.

"Although the economy has picked up, rising energy costs and cold Michigan winters contribute to the financial difficulties low-income families face when it comes to staying safe and warm during the winter months," Taft said.

A program will be held on the capitol grounds, with a mini-walk co-chaired by state House Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt, R- Lawton, and state Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida. The Coalition will be honoring leaders for their efforts and work to support energy assistance in the state. The 2015 Leadership Award will be going to Gov. Snyder. The 2014 Advocate Award recipients include the Michigan Department of Human Services and the Michigan Public Service Commission.

"The Department of Human Services and the Public Service Commission have partnered together for the betterment of Michigan families when delivering the Michigan Energy Assistance Program," said Director Nick Lyon.  "We are honored for the recognition, and I look forward to continuing our work with the coalition and its members as the state continues enhancing services to our citizens under the new Department of Health and Human Services."

Commissioner Sally Talberg said the Public Service Commission is honored to receive recognition from the Coalition.

"My fellow Commissioners and our staff are committed to helping the coalition continue its effort of energy assistance education and finding real solutions for Michigan families," she said.

The coalition urges everyone to take the following steps this winter:

  1. If you are in need of energy assistance, contact your utility immediately and seek out agency assistance in your area. 
  2. If you are using alternative sources of energy, such as space heaters or generators, please do so cautiously, and only upon following the directions for such energy sources.
  3. If you are in a position to give to support energy assistance, consider donating to a local human services agency in your area that provides direct energy assistance.
  4. Consider joining the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm by signing up at www.coalitiontokeepmichiganwarm.com to receive regular updates about energy assistance throughout the year.

The event at the state Capitol is only one way in which the coalition works with state lawmakers to improve the delivery of energy assistance. Since 1987, the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm has worked to improve the availability of financial and human resources to meet the energy assistance needs of Michigan's low-income households.  The members perform this mission through the exchange of information, developing new ideas, public education, and advocacy.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/keep-michigan-warm-coalition-focused-on-community-strategies-helping-families-through-winter-challenges-300037733.html

SOURCE Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm

For further information: Monica Martinez, Phone: (517) 281-3526, monica@rubenstrategy.com