WASHINGTON, DC — As prices for natural gas, heating oil, and propane continue to climb, almost 5 million American families may need government help paying winter heating bills, according to a survey released earlier this month by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA).

That would be an increase of 26% over last year, when 3.9 million impoverished households sought help, said the survey by NEADA.

“Prices soar, temperatures plummet, and poor families are left out in the cold,” said Mark Wolfe, head of the group. “We’re talking about elderly or disabled people, or a family with young children, usually making less than $10,000 per year.”

According to the survey, the biggest percentage increases in families seeking government help are expected in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State.

Publication date: 02/26/2001