Okla. DHS Reports Complaints Over Heating Help

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services say they're fielding numerous complaints about cuts to a federal program that provides heating assistance to low-income residents during the winter.

DHS administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which uses federal funds to help defray the costs of winter heating and summer cooling for low-income Oklahomans.

But DHS programs manager Kathie Wright says the program was only appropriated about $16 million this year, about one-third of its budget last year.

Wright says the agency would normally hold an open application period beginning Dec. 1, but has scrapped that plan because of the funding cut.

Instead, DHS will target only pre-approved households that the agency has identified as most vulnerable.