What does the Lord require of you?
Christians are very familiar with the Micah 6:8 verse where we are required to “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” One has to wonder how our Congress can respond to this command with sequestration cuts being enacted daily. We’ve heard about Meals on Wheels funding cut, education cuts for our youngest and most vulnerable, and numerous other cuts that defund our safety net for the poorest among us. Now we are also seeing that homes will be harder to heat in the coming winter. What does God’s justice require? Call, write or email your Congress person today and share your concern about hurting the poorest among us.
The Coalition on Human (CHN) Needs shares this November 14 press release from the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA).
Key Facts from the NEADA Survey as reported by CHN:
- As a direct result of the sequester, the total number of households receiving home heating assistance declined by 194,000 from 6.9 million in FY 2012 to about 6.7 million in FY 2013 and those receiving cooling assistance declined by about 104,000 from 1.1 million to about 996,000.
- The sequester cuts were on top of severe cuts in the program that have been enacted since FY 2010. From FY 2010 to FY 2102, total funding was reduced from $5.1 billion to $3.47 billion, and then further reduced by the sequester to $3.3 billion in FY 2013. The impact has been significant. The total number of households receiving assistance has declined by 17% from about 8.1 million in FY 2010 to 6.7 million in FY 2013.
- Cuts enacted since FY 2010 have reduced the program’s purchasing power from 52.5% of the cost of home heating for the average household to 44% during last year’s winter heating season.
- The outlook for the coming winter is especially grim since the Energy Information Administration has projected that the average cost of home heating will increase from $922 last winter heating season to $977 this winter. For those using natural gas, home heating costs are expected to increase by 13% and the overall average increase among all fuel types is projected to be about 6%. As such, the purchasing power of the program will be further reduced from 44% to 41.5% in FY 2014.
And these cuts do not include the second sequester, which could lead to more harmful effects unless Congress takes action to reverse it.