from the NEW MEXICO NEWS CONNECTION - A statewide news service for New Mexico
It's been a less than enchanting winter for many households in one of the most impoverished parts of the Land of Enchantment. Already, this winter has been marked by bitter cold and continued high energy prices, but in the northwest part of New Mexico, things have turned from bad to worse. Jeanette Linville with Nacimiento Medical Foundation in Cuba says she's temporarily out of funds for energy assistance,
"The last month has been absolutely extremely cold. It has been so cold, and I feel for some of my clients out on the reservation."
She says she had to turn away one woman living on a 300-dollar-a-month pension who was nearly out of firewood. Linville says she has begun collaborating with other organizations to find ways to help, and she hopes her group will receive more funds for energy assistance soon.
Linville says it can be hard for people on the Navajo Reservation to get assistance for propane or firewood because they aren't eligible for help through the county, and energy funds from the tribe aren't always readily available at all chapter houses.
"People on the reservation should be receiving, in some form, LIHEAP funds - that's the Low Income Home Energy Program - through the state. And I don't know why the funds are not available for them."
Linville says hers and other groups have been coordinating with various government agencies to try to track down the funding bottleneck.