COLUMBUS – Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) announced today that the State Controlling Board approved over $146 million to the Department of Development to continue administering the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as well as provide economic relief for vulnerable communities.
“These increased appropriations funded through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act are critical to helping continue the state’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and serve Ohioans in need. As the high utility costs of summer’s high temperatures transition into the coming months of winter’s temperature drop, utility assistance is essential for families with low incomes,” said Leader Russo. “Additionally, I am happy to see much needed infrastructure improvement funding going to the Ohio School for the Deaf and Ohio State School for the Blind.”
Additionally, $2 million was allocated to the Department of Development to continue supporting the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). CSBG provides emergency services and is designed to help low-income individuals and families by securing and retaining meaningful employment, attain adequate education, improve use of available income, and obtain sufficient housing, as well as emergency assistance. This program helps reduce poverty and revitalizes low-income communities throughout Ohio.
Other approved items include:
· Over $144,000 to the Ohio School for the Deaf to fund asphalt replacement at their Administrative Building;
· Over $252,000 to the Ohio State School for the Blind to upgrade the Public Address System;
· Over $8.5 million to the Ohio Rail Development Commission to fund projects that improve railroad safety, efficiency, and reliability;
· Over $4 million to the Department of Job and Family services to enhance early literacy resources to childcare centers through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio;
· Over $1.8 million to the Department of Transportation to address COVID-19 health disparities among Ohio’s most vulnerable communities;
· Over $1.2 million to the Department of Health to continue supporting the Help Me Grow (HMG) Home Visiting Program that delivers trainings and support to the home visiting workforce;
· Over $200,000 to the Department of Health to participate in the National WIC Association’s National Recruitment and Retention Campaign in hopes of increasing enrollment of WIC-eligible mothers in Ohio;
· Over $190,000 to the Latino Affairs Commission to continue the work of the Latino Mental Health Navigators Program.