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Issue Alert - 04-08-04

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Date:

Sep 17, 2004

Issue Summary:

Relocation services for SER are now offered to families who are currently living in “high energy” housing to move to housing that is more energy efficient.

Persons Affected:

Relocation services for SER are now offered to families who are currently living in “high energy” housing to move to housing that is more energy efficient.

For More Information:

Lisa Ruby Michigan Poverty Law Program611 Church St. Suite 4AAnn Arbor, MI 48104-3000(734) 998-6100 ext. 33Fax: (734) 998-9190Email: lruby@umich.edu


Background

State Emergency Relief (SER)

What's Happening?

FIA has expanded its SER relocation policy to include relocation assistance for families who are identified as by Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and SEMCO as customers who are living in housing with “high energy costs.”<P>As part of Michigan’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Plan (LIHEAP), local offices are required to create a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) made up of LIHEAP providers in the county if any (Note: the only LIHEAP energy providers are Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and SEMCO), FIA local office staff, Community Action Agencies, and other relevant community partners. The MDT makes sure that low-income families apply for the home heating credit and weatherization services. If the family’s house cannot be made more energy efficient through weatherization services, the MDT will approve the family for relocation funds to more energy efficient housing. It’s not clear at this point how the energy providers will define “high energy” users for MDT review for weatherization and SER relocation services, nor is it clear if non-LIHEAP-direct customers might eligible for the MDT review for weatherization and SER relocation services? We will provide updates to advocates and clients as we get information about these issues.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should find out if their local office has an MDT and identify the FIA liaison on the MDT. They should find out how the team plans on determining eligibility for weatherization and relocation services and share this information with the community. Some organizations may wish to volunteer to participate on the local MDT, it is relevant to their work.

What Should Clients Do?

Contact FIA if you want weatherization or relocation services because of high energy costs. Find out what the procedure is to receive these services. Contact legal services if you are denied these services.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp web site (http://MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.