President Barack Obama has proposed deep cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. If they go through, Maine is expecting less than half of the $56 million in federal funds it received last year.
For the typical resident that means that instead of receiving around $850 for the winter, the benefit would be closer $300 according to Mike Tarpinian, CEO of The Opportunity Alliance, a community nonprofit that serves Cumberland County, Maine.
"That's less than 100 gallons that would get them through the winter," Tarpinian said. "That's less than 20 days."
If people don't have enough money to heat their homes by traditional methods, Tarpinian said he worries people will seek alternative methods. Dangerous methods.
"My concern is that people will then start to burn things in the fireplace or woodstove that is inappropriate — that they begin to start to use their oven to heat areas of the house," Tarpinian said. "And that's a formula for disaster."
- Mike Tarpinian, CEO, The Opportunity Alliance
This program aired on December 14, 2011.