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Energy assistance and improvements money available

Two programs designed to help people pay or save on winter energy costs have had funding extended this week.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Minnesota is receiving $64.8 million that can help families and seniors pay their heating bills this winter. The funds are aimed at those with the lowest incomes who pay a high proportion of their incomes for home energy.
In 2009, the program provided approximately 154,000 Minnesota households with assistance.
The state agency Minnesota Housing has recently received $2 million of additional federal funds for energy saving improvements as a part of its home improvement loan program. Qualified homeowners can receive a rebate of 35% of the cost -- up to $10,000 -- for eligible improvements financed with a Fix-up Fund loan.
Eligible improvements include high efficiency furnaces, boilers and central air conditioners, Energy Star replacement light fixtures, and in some cases, water heaters. Energy Star replacement windows and replacement exterior doors now qualify for a 25% rebate of costs financed with a Fix-up Fund loan.
To date, nearly 1,400 homeowners have received $4.8 million in Energy Saver Rebates.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds come through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The energy saver rebates are funded with federal stimulus funds through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Both opportunities are administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and service for both programs is handled by the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency headquartered in Virginia.