Energy Assistance Press Conference
December 8, 2008
[ As Prepared ]
Thank you all for joining us today.
I especially want to thank Senator Mikulski, who fights so hard for Maryland every single day in the halls of the United States Senate. We are truly blessed in Maryland to have such a strong Congressional delegation, led by Barbara Mikulski, and its times like these that we’re reminded just how fortunate we are in Maryland to be represented by such effective and compassionate leaders.
I also want to acknowledge John Stewart and everyone at the Commission on Aging who do such important work, along with everyone at the Waxter Senior Center.
We are going through some very difficult and challenging times in both our State and our country right now,… made more challenging as the cool breeze of Autumn gives way to the harsh cold of winter.
As Marylanders, we have a long Revolutionary tradition of proving that tough times don’t last, tough people do. We’re going to make it through these tough times, but only if we continue to stick together and strengthen our shared priorities, including the obligation we feel in our hearts to protect our most vulnerable neighbors.
During serious weather situations, the ability to heat one’s home can be a life or death issue. And in our One Maryland, where we’re united in our belief in the dignity of every individual and our belief that there is no such thing as a spare Marylander, it is unacceptable for any citizen to lose his or her life due to an inability to pay a heating bill.
We’re here today to discuss our on-going efforts to provide home energy assistance to some of our more vulnerable neighbors.
Thanks to the incredible work of Senator Mikulski and our Congressional delegation, our federal allocation to Maryland for energy assistance has increased from $35 million last year to $110 million this year.
This increased allocation will allow our Administration to serve as many as 10,000 more Marylanders, to provide recipients with a larger benefit, to reach eligible citizens who haven’t yet applied for assistance, and to help those citizens who have fallen behind in their energy bills to get up-to-date and avoid having their heating shut off.
We wanted to take this opportunity today to remind Marylanders how to apply for assistance. In order to apply, citizens should call 1-800-332-6347. That number again is 1-800-332-6347.
Alternatively, we are accepting applications through our State’s new “Problemsolver” website, an online one-stop-shop encompassing all the various State and federal resources available to assist families during these difficult economic times. The website can be accessed at www.problemsolver.maryland.gov. Users who log-in should click on “Maryland Energy Assistance Program” under the “Utilities & Energy” heading.
Marylanders can also apply at their local Departments of Social Services office. A complete list of locations is available on the Problemsolver website, under “Additional Tools.”
Eligibility for energy assistance is determined by income. A family of four earning less than $37,100 per year, for example, would qualify, as would an individual earning up to $18,200 per year. We have brochures with us today with more information.
Let me close by asking all Marylanders to reach out to friends, family and neighbors who might be in need of assistance, but who do not know that it is available to them.
With that, I would like to turn the microphone over to one of the greatest legislators in the history of that great institution known as the United States Senate, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski.