Dayton expands eligibility for state's heating assistance program

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Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order Tuesday to expand eligibility for the state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help the low-income residents with their heating bills, Forum News Service reports.

The program will help an estimated 120,000 Minnesota household in a time where propane shortages in the Upper Midwest have caused prices to double, and in some cases, quadruple, the news service says.

Households of four must earn less than $52,370 a year to qualify for the program, and household of two must earn under $35,612. The eligibility for the program will be determined by income and the number of people living in the homes, and qualifying families may earn up to $1,000 in heating assistance this season.

"Minnesotans across our state are living in fear that they will run out of the fuels they need to keep their families safe and warm," Dayton said in a press release Tuesday. "This crisis requires immediate action, which I have taken today. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the safety of our citizens during this serious emergency."

The executive order comes just after Dayton and six other governors in the region sent a letter to President Barack Obama addressing the propane shortage and spikes in prices.

According to The Associated Press, Dayton and the governors asked the administration in the letter to help increase propane supplies through "every means of transport."

Forum News Service reported over the weekend that propane production is at an all-time high and there is more of the fuel than ever in the country, it's just not where it needs to be.

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