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Minnesota getting more than $98 million in heating assistance from feds

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A federal grant of nearly $99 million will replenish Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program.

The state Department of Commerce oversees the program that helps households earning less than half the state's median income., the Pioneer Press reports. The newspaper says last winter the program distributed more than $109 million and recipients had an average household income of less than $17,000.

In announcing receipt of the grant, the Commerce Department said homeowners or renters who qualify will typically receive about $500 in aid, which is the same as last year. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman particularly encouraged households that include chlidren, seniors, or people with disabilities to apply. The department says last winter 73 percent of recipients fell into those categories.

Last month there was concern that the federal government shutdown might disrupt the program. The Commerce Department tried to allay those fears by saying there was enough state money to keep it going through December.

Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is releasing more than $3 billion to various state and tribal heating assistance programs.

More info about who qualifies and how to apply can be found here.

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