Winter is almost upon us and Dawson County families in need might be out of luck this year. Many people, especially during times like these, need help to pay the bills. However this year that much needed assistance may not be available.
Earlier this week Ninth District Opportunity announced that it would be forced to reduce the number of Dawson County households that it will serve this year due to cuts in funding. Low Income Heat Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that helps low-income families pay for energy costs, especially during the winter months. Last year, 366 households in Dawson County were able to use these funds to keep the heat on, this year that number has been reduced to 100; unless something changes.
While the local NDO office believes that it will receive further funding this year, it is a scary thought that members of our community could be without heat.
Many of the households in Dawson County that are helped by LIHEAP are seniors with nowhere else to turn.
Since the economy is in a continuous downward spiral - and it is known that there are many more seniors who need assistance this year - it doesnt make sense to us to see this much needed funding cut further. NDO has already begun to add names to its waiting list.
Families in need of funding have few alternatives to the annual LIHEAP program, so many could be out of luck this year. We hope programs like LIHEAP are not what people think of when they talk about wasteful government spending. There must be better alternatives when it comes to budget cuts, than a program that helps keep homes warm when its cold.
Our representatives assure us that they are keeping an eye on the issue and have the needs of their constituents in mind. But its hard to count on the big machine of government to get things done in a timely manner. We bet that the freezing winds of winter will be here before real help arrives.
So, where do Dawson County seniors turn when they are not one of only source of assistance they have has been minimized?
Were sure that Dawson County and her citizens will do what they have always done and look out for a neighbor in need. The generosity and camaraderie of Dawson County will shine through just as it has in the past.