Funds For Okla.'s Heating Assistance Program Cut

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Fewer Oklahomans will be able to access federal funds this winter to help pay their heating bills.

The Department of Human Services announced Monday that because of limited federal funding for the program, an open application period set for December will not be held.

DHS program manager Kathie Wright says about $16 million in federal funds were appropriated this year for the program, which also includes assistance for summer cooling. That's about one-third of the budget provided a year ago.

Because of the cuts, Wright says heating assistance only will be provided to pre-approved households that already receive benefits through other programs and have been identified as most vulnerable.

If Congress approves additional funds for the program, Wright says DHS will consider accepting applications for additional households in 2012.