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Emergency Energy Assistance Released to Three Montana Tribes

March 16, 2018 – Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock recently announced that $200,000 in emergency energy assistance funding will be released to LIHEAP eligible families on the Northern Cheyenne, Fort Belknap, and Blackfeet reservations.

Governor Bullock said, “Tribal, state, and local leaders and volunteers have come together over the past several weeks to take care of our fellow Montanans during this brutal winter.”

State officials, through regular communication with the tribal officials in those areas, have reported that many residents have exhausted their ability to pay their higher-than-average heating bills, or purchase fuels like wood and propane. In addition to this, tribal officials have stated that all three of the tribes will have soon have exhausted the entirety of their tribe’s LIHEAP crisis funding.

Governor Bullock declared a winter storm emergency in Northwestern and Southeastern Montana on February 27, 2018. The Northern Cheyenne, Fort Belknap and Blackfeet reservations are in these areas.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Baines said the help came at just the right time. “The funding is very timely, and much appreciated. We continue to assess the impact of this year’s winter storm to our citizens, and the need for additional energy assistance is an issue that has come up.”

Sheila Hogan, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human services, said, “This is a program that exists to help people, and we’re proud to partner with local tribal officials to address this emergent need.”

The emergency funding will be available to the tribes through a contract with DPHHS for tribal families who are eligible or who are already receiving LIHEAP assistance.

LIHEAP is designed to assist low income households in meeting the expenses of energy bills during the winter months. Those seeking to apply can visit their local energy assistance office or visit www.lieap.mt.gov for more information.

For more information about LIHEAP in your state visit the LIHEAP Clearinghouse here.