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SWP expands utility assistance to more Upper Peninsula families

State grant allows new program to cover previously ineligible expenses such as water, sewer, and trash disposal
Superior Watershed Partnership Energy & Climate Office assists qualified residents with energy needs.

MARQUETTE, Mich. The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) Energy & Climate Office has expanded heat and electric assistance to more UP households, as well as providing water, sewer, and waste assistance for the first time ever, thanks to a $1.57-million grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

The SWP now provides unprecedented assistance to UP residents in need. Households with incomes up to 300 per cent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) may qualify for assistance with heat, electric, water and/or waste bills. A family of four earning up to $7,500 per month may be eligible for assistance.

Since 2013, the SWP has worked with over 8,000 income-qualified UP households to provide heat and electric assistance. Realizing that many more households needed assistance, the SWP secured additional funding to expand its services to more UP residents in need. This new program covers previously ineligible expenses such as water, sewer, and trash disposal. 

“This is a one-of-a-kind program to help households who have never been eligible for utility assistance. With low-income Michigan residents spending an average of 15 per cent of their income on energy bills alone, this funding couldn’t come at a better time to help people in the UP,” said Kasey Grieco, Program Manager.

This assistance is intended to reduce energy and utility burdens, thereby allowing households to redirect funds for other needs. Approved households are encouraged to spend funds that would have been allocated for utilities on necessities such as healthy food, vehicle repairs, and medication.

The SWP is one of 10 Michigan non-profits, and the only one in the UP, awarded funds from the MI Impact Grant program, which aims to address disparities that affect Michiganders’ abilities to afford necessities such as housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation, with the goal of lifting 100,000 Michigan families out of poverty during the next five years.

The SWP is currently working with participating heat, electric, water and waste utility providers across the UP. Providers who would like to participate can contact us at 906-273-2742 to enroll.

UP residents in need of assistance should contact the SWP Climate & Energy Office at 906-273-2742, or visit the website for more information and eligibility guidelines.