This weekend is going to be a continuation of sub-zero temperatures, and with the cold weather I wanted to make sure our community was aware of the available resources for those struggling to pay their heating bill. The Energy Assistance Program helped over 118,00 households pay heating bills last year, and you’re still able to apply - though applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program serves households that earn less than $54,357 for a household of four or $28,266 for a household of one. If you’re eligible, you can apply for assistance with your service provider. You can call at 800-657-3710 or visit the Commerce Department’s Energy Assistance Program webpage.
Additionally, Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) helps protect and reconnect your heat from October 15 through April 15. All electric and natural gas companies must offer CWR protection, with different types of payment plans available depending on your household income and which electric or natural gas company you have. You can find more information on how to take advantage of the CWR here.
The Latest on the COVID-19 Vaccine
We’ve recently received some good news with President Biden announcing yesterday that the US is securing 600 million more vaccine doses. Add low rates of hospital admissions, an uptick in vaccination counts, and over 30 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older now vaccinated, and there are many reasons to be optimistic. We’re closer than ever to closing this dark chapter, but it’s still incredibly important to follow public health guidelines.
Minnesotans age 65 or older and educators are also now receiving the vaccine. Those 65 or older who have yet to receive their first dose can find vaccine providers in their area and more information here. If you pre-registered for the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program, you’ll be notified if you’re chosen through the random selection process. Educators, school staff, and child care workers will receive vaccine information from their employers, and health care workers and long-term care residents are continuing to receive the vaccine through their workplace, care facility, or local public health department.
Honoring Black History Month
I’m incredibly honored to serve in the most diverse Minnesota Legislature in state history, and this Black History Month, my colleagues in the United Black Legislative Caucus announced their priorities aimed at addressing racial disparities in economic opportunity, housing, education, health and human services, public safety, transportation, and environmental justice. You can watch their announcement here.