COLUMBUS – State Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) 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. These increased appropriations are critical to helping continue the state’s effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and serve Ohioans in need.
“Energy prices are rising and individuals on low or fixed incomes are struggling,” said Rep. Sobecki. “Democrats in Washington took action and passed laws that would reduce inflation, but it will take some time before we see those effects. Meanwhile, it is important to continue to invest in LIHEAP to help those in need afford their utilities.”
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, obtain sufficient housing as well as emergency assistance. This program will help reduce poverty and revitalized low-income communities throughout Ohio.
Other approved items include:
· 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.