(Harrisburg) -- Governor Rendell says he’s extending Pennsylvania’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program by two weeks and increasing individual grants by $100. Rendell says he’s able to extend LIHEAP’s application season into April and up cash grants because of decreased fuel costs. The expansion is also possible because the Department of Public Welfare delayed the start of its crisis grant program until early January. That decision drew criticism over the past few months, but Deputy DPW Secretary Linda Blanchette says needy families got the help they required through LIHEAP’s cash grant program, which began in November. "Both at once sometimes means duplication when it’s not necessary. We were giving out both a cash and crisis grant when they both were not necessary," she says. "Separating them allowed us to give only what was needed, and then conserve the funds for other people’s needs." Federal LIHEAP funding for Pennsylvania was reduced by $56 million this year. Families of four with an income of $33,000 or less are eligible to apply for assistance.
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