MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – The Michigan Energy Assistance Program is available to low-income households as a preventative measure to avoid energy shut off.
The Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy is a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services navigation and referral partner for the MEAP. They can help people navigate any part of the process of applying for assistance. According to Natalie Weidner a self-sufficiency educator at SWP, people who need assistance must apply through MI-bridges first but can call SWP for guidance on how.
“”We offer all of our paperwork is online or you can do it through the mail so we offer a lot of ways clients can do it with our elderly clients especially we will oftentimes fill it out over the phone with them if they really need it,” said Weidman. “We really go out of our way to try to find the best way to get people help.”
The program will pay past due bills for electricity and natural gas. It also will pay for a fill-up on propane once someone’s tank is at 25% full or cover the cost of firewood when a household is down to two-weeks left of wood. Weidner says the SWP also offers classes for people who need help with budgeting or enrolling in other services.
“We offer classes on energy conservation, we offer in house budgeting,” said Weidner. “We also offer a job search and readiness program, so you know, how to create a resume, how to apply for jobs, kind of how to walk, talk, dress for the interviews, that kind of stuff.”
SWP isn’t open for in-person visits yet, but they are still working. Weidner says people should call if they have any questions about the MEAP process or need other utility assistance.
“We have a lot of funding left, we are able to enroll people into affordable payment plans through certain utilities, we can connect them with DHS,” said Weidner “We are considered a navigation partner so it means anything related to the MEAP grant, we can kind of help you navigate your way through.”
More information on the MEAP grant and other services that SWP offers can be found on their website.