Will You Be Able To Heat Your Home This Winter? Millions Of American Families Will Not
Will you have a warm house to come home to this winter? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. With the United States experiencing the highest levels of long-term unemployment that it has seen since the Great Depression, millions of Americans families are simply out of money. All across America this winter, families are going to be forced to make some heart breaking decisions. For many, the choice will come down to either heating their home or putting food on the table. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, more than 10 million U.S. households will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter without assistance, which would be a new all-time record. So, if you are in a position to easily heat your home this winter, be very, very thankful. The number of American families that cannot even afford the basics of life is growing by the day.
As I have written about previously, millions of formerly middle class families have been absolutely ripped apart by this economy. There simply is not nearly enough jobs for everyone, and those who have been left on the outside looking in are becoming increasingly desperate.
Of course there is federal help available, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough for those who are truly in need. For example, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low income households in paying their home heating bills. However, the truth is that usually only a small fraction of heating costs are covered. Nationally, the average benefit represents only about 8% of the average winter heating bill.
Last winter, a record number of U.S. households applied for home heating assistance. In fact, in 17 states application requests were up more than 20% from the year before. Due to rapidly spreading poverty, the number of Americans filing for heating assistance is expected to increase even more this winter.
If you cannot heat your home, it is a really, really big deal. In 2009, a 93-year-old man in Bay City, Michigan actually froze to death inside his own home.