Help for residents in need of electrical, heat assistance

Although the economy seems to be moving along well on a national and even state level, a great many people in the Upper Peninsula find themselves in diminished or challenged circumstances, many severe enough that they may not be able to keep the lights on or heat going this winter.

There are a pair of popular programs administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, highlighted in a recent Mining Journal story, that merit being underscored.

The Journal story stated that assistance to low-income households is available through State Emergency Relief and the Michigan Energy Assistance Program, or MEAP.

State Emergency Relief is for immediate assistance to someone facing conditions of extreme hardship or emergencies threatening health and safety. This emergency support is designed to help low-income households that normally are able to make ends meet but occasionally need help when an unexpected situation arises. It is available to pay for utilities only when a shutoff has occurred or there is a threat of a shutoff.

MEAP, meanwhile, is a preventive program designed to provide energy assistance to low-income households so they can reach energy self-sufficiency.

Have questions? Go to and click on “Assistance Programs” and then “Emergency Relief: Home, Utilities & Burial.” Or contact the local MDHHS office for information.

The Dickinson County MDHHS office’s phone number is 906-779-4100. It is in Suite A at 1401 Carpenter Ave. in Iron Mountain. In Iron County, the number is 906-265-9958 and the office is at 337 Brady Ave. in Caspian.