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Rep. Lightbody announces $224.7 million for energy assistance, unemployment, and other supports for Ohioans during pandemic

October 25, 2021
Mary Lightbody News

Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) announced today that the state Controlling Board approved several items of note this week, including the allocation of $202 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) for the Home Energy Assistance Weatherization Program, which helps Ohioans pay their energy bills if they are at or below 175% of the federal poverty line.

The Controlling Board also allocated $13.5 million from the federal government to help students earn credentials, such as a high school diploma, that are essential for them as they begin their careers. The funds will specifically prioritize districts support students pursuing careers in information technology, advanced manufacturing, construction, engineering and other important fields.

“I support the approval of American Rescue Plan Act funding, which will provide much-needed energy assistance, education, and healthcare. The Home Energy Assistance Weatherization Program will ensure that every Ohioan has access to energy saving technology to retain heat in their home as we approach the winter months. This funding will also go towards meeting the needs of students by preparing them to enter in demand and well-paying fields in STEM and infrastructure. Further, I appreciate the continued attention towards the improvement of ODJFS to better serve residents of the 19th district and all Ohioans who continue to seek assistance with resolving unemployment concerns in a timely manner,” said Rep. Lightbody. 

The Controlling Board approved other measures Monday to support Ohioans amid the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • $4.5 million through ARPA to support Ohio’s libraries navigating the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • $1.5 million from the federal government for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) to streamline its intake and responses to inquires;
  • $1.4 million for ODJFS to identify public assistance fraud, prevent overpayments and determine eligibility for benefits;
  • $570,000 over the next two years to purchase Electronic Benefit Transfer smart cards for Women, Infants & Children programs statewide, which help provide healthy foods to families in need;
  • $268,084 to maintain ventilators for Ohio’s hospitals;
  • $200,000 to train county election officials;
  • $150,000 over the next two years to prevent sexual assault on college campuses and support survivors;
  • $93,000 to increase FAFSA completion rates.