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Walker signs bill providing guaranteed loans for those struggling to pay high heating bills

Governor Scott Walker signed legislation Thursday to assist people struggling to pay high heating bills as a result of the propane shortage and bitter cold winter. Under Assembly Bill 770, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) will administer the emergency heating assistance loan guarantee program. To be approved for emergency heating assistance, applicants must have a household income no higher than 200 percent of the median income of their county, they cannot be eligible for conventional financing, and they must demonstrate reasonable ability to repay the loan.

“The propane shortage affected residents and business owners all around the state, and left many with unexpectedly high heating bills that they cannot pay in full,” said Governor Walker. “This emergency heating assistance loan guarantee program will help families make ends meet and offers some relief from the burden created by the propane crisis.”

The bill will allow qualified families to obtain financing of up to $2,500 through a participating lender with a guarantee of 50 to 80 percent on original amount borrowed. It makes financing more affordable by providing a one-time payment of 3.5 percent to reduce the interest rate on the loan.