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Supervisor Office of Energy Assistance and Weatherization
HQ Phone:  (425) 388-7200
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"Last year we set a record and it seems like we're on track to do that again," said Bill Beuscher, Supervisor for Snohomish County's Weatherization and Energy Assistance Programs.
"We are seeing more people this year seeking energy assistance for the first time." In 2009-2010 Snohomish County was given $2.8 million in federal funds to help families with their energy bills, this year there is only $1.48 million secured. County officials estimate the funding shortfall could result in 3,700 fewer households receiving energy assistance. "We are really hoping the funds will be increased," said Beuscher. The funding comes from the Federal Health and Human Services Budget yet to be approved by congress. Beuscher says there is an effort to try to convince lawmakers about the funding shortfall. He says this type of situation has happened before, and the funding was eventually increased. Snohomish County offers assistance to families up to $1000, depending on income level and the size of their heating bill. Beuscher says they are making only making appointments with families based on the amount of money they already have secured.
"Think about people who have no utilities," said Bill Beuscher, Snohomish County's program manager of energy and weatherization.
The county's Human Services Department administers the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides help with fuel costs. Because of a delay in this year's funding, Beuscher said, until recently the program was only helping families in crisis, those with utilities shut off or about to be shut off. Phone lines opened last week to make appointments for others needing help. "We're seeing an extremely large increase in people seeking help, in part because of funding delays and due to the economy," Beuscher said. Qualifying incomes for the program are a maximum of $1,128 monthly for a single person or $2,297 for a four-person household. Beuscher is glad there are additional utility settlement funds this year, about $500,000 worth. That money will help people with slightly higher incomes. "They should call, we're happy to look at their situation," Beuscher said. Also, the Snohomish County PUD has Project Pride, an assistance program operated by the Red Cross. And Puget Sound Energy has an energy assistance program, plus its Warm Neighbor fund. In 2008, Beuscher said, the county's program helped provide heat to 4,554 households. Of those, 918 were senior households, 1,552 households included disabled people, "and there were lots of kids" - 902 children age 2 and younger, Beuscher said. "Last year was the largest year in the history of the county," Beuscher said. "This year I expect it to be as large or larger. It has a great positive effect on our community, with so many folks unemployed," he said.
"Low-income families are being squeezed harder this year," said Bill Beuscher, who supervises energy assistance and weatherization programs for Snohomish County.The program, funded by Puget Sound Energy, allocated $468,023 to 1,305 households last winter, Beuscher said.The average gas grant was $359 per household.Another energy assistance program is set to start on Nov. 17 in the county, Beuscher said.The program is open to low-income households that use any type of heating sources including electricity, natural gas and oil.The federal program distributed about $1.9 million to 4,589 low-income families last year.The average grant last year was $408 per household.The two programs run by the county could expand this year, Beuscher said."We are expecting a very busy year," he said.
Bill requires conviction before property seizure email this article "We're still getting 30 to 40 calls per day for help," said Bill Beuscher, supervisor of Snohomish County's Energy Assistance Program.
The supervisor of Snohomish County's Energy Assistance Program, Bill Beuscher, said his office expects to be busy this winter as residents who feel squeezed look for help with higher heating bills.