Government shutdown threatens heat, food programs here

Government shutdown threatens heat, food programs here


TIVERTON — Hundreds of low income Tiverton residents could find themselves hurt by the federal shutdown if the crisis continues to the end of the month.

Two programs most immediately threatened are those that provide low income heating assistance and the program that supports women, infants and children with nutritional assistance.

That’s the word from Dennis Roy, president and chief executive officer of the East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP), based in East Providence and  serving Tiverton and other communities in the East Bay.

Heating assistance is provided annually to 655 low income households in Tiverton — “that’s close to 2,000 people” — Mr. Roy said.

In the 2012-2013 winter season, Mr. Roy said, EBCAP provided an estimated $335,000 in support to those 655 Tiverton households to help pay utility bills.

His agency, he said, also provided $131,000 in nutritional support to Tiverton women, infants, and children in 2012-2013 through the WIC Program (Women Infants and Children Program). WIC served a total of 243 individuals in Tiverton in the last 12 months, he said.

“If the Congress doesn’t pass a continuing resolution soon the money is likely to run out at the end of October,” Mr. Roy said. State officials have made no commitments about what will happen if the hammer drops.

The heating assistance program (called LIHEAP, for low income home energy assistance program) consists of federal funding earmarked for Rhode Island that is paid directly to vendors of home heating fuels.

The program also helps those eligible secure reduced electric rates and phone bill discounts.

The WIC supplemental feeding program is for moderate and low income women — and in some cases fathers, grandparents and foster parents for children in their care.

The program provides healthy food and nutrition advice, and funds for healthy food purchasing, to pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women infants and children under five years old.