A move to fund additional winter heating costs was announced Monday in Jefferson City.

Texas County residents affected by the harsh winter and high heating bills would get some relief under a request put forward Monday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon amended his supplemental budget request for the current fiscal year to include $3.5 million in general revenue for the Utilicare program, which provides fuel and utility assistance for low-income Missourians.

“The unusually harsh weather Missouri has experienced this winter, along with the rising cost of heating fuel, has put many households with limited means in a real bind,” Nixon said. “This additional funding for Utilicare will enable more families to pay those higher utility bills.”

The Missouri General Assembly will consider the governor’s request as part of the fiscal 2014 supplemental budget. Utilicare is administered through the Missouri Department of Social Services. It provides assistance with energy bills for low-income Missourians, including seniors and people with disabilities.

Funding will be used through the Energy Crisis Intervention Program, which provides financial assistance to households in a verifiable energy crisis. The funds will be allocated to each of the 18 Community Action Agencies and the Urban League. An estimated 5,600 households statewide will benefit from these funds. Eligibility requirements are based on income, household size, available resources and responsibility for home energy costs.

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