(March 7) – The House gave preliminary approval today to a bill to protect low-income Coloradans from spending their winters shivering in unheated homes.

HB17-1116, sponsored by Reps. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, and Tony Exum Sr., D-Colorado Springs, enacts a five-year extension of a home heating and home insulation assistance program for Colorado’s most vulnerable families.

“This is an important measure for Coloradans who otherwise would have to choose between heat and rent, or heat and food,” Rep. Hamner said.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program is helping heat and/or insulate the homes of more than 58,000 Colorado low-income families and individuals this winter, with an average benefit of $342 per household. Funding comes from Colorado’s oil and gas severance tax and the charitable contributions of private groups like the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, but most of the $13 million appropriated for the program comes from the federal government.

“This program is literally a life-saver for thousands of Coloradans, including many people in my district,” Rep. Exum said.

After a recorded vote, the bill will go to the Senate.

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