Trump's budget could be detrimental to families needing energy assistance

Community funds effected by Trump's budget

West Michigan organizations that provide energy assistance to families across the state are anxiously waiting to learn more about President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts.

“If there is not the funding or assistance available then that puts them at risk of being shut off,” said Darcy Cunningham with The Salvation Army. “And especially in Michigan during the winter months it is very dangerous.”

In Trump’s proposal the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program would be eliminated, which means organizations that help low-income families would experience a dramatic decrease in funding.

Sherri Vianavicz, 2-1-1 Program Manager with United Way, said energy assistance calls are the number one request they receive across the state of Michigan. She added that even despite a more mild winter, calls have increased 16 percent this year.

“Unemployment has gone up,” Vianavicz said. “So families are still struggling to get those basic needs met day to day.”

Trump’s plan still has to be vetted by leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate and their respective appropriations committees.

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