Fiscal cliff to affect heating aid

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- With the deadline looming for members of Congress and President Obama to come up with a deal to prevent the so called Fiscal Cliff, there are new concerns about what no deal would mean for low-income families in Connecticut.

No one knows if this winter will be mild or very cold but if they nation plunges down the fiscal cliff it could take thousands of Connecticut residents down into the cold.

"Without getting some assistance we literally take freezing cold showers, there's no heat, nothing, you know, we would freeze," Mike Swanson of New Britain said.

Congressman, soon to be U.S. Senator Chris Murphy listened intently today to the stories of hardship, like from a man whose unemployment checks have run out and he has nothing coming in.

"A former executive with "The Hartford" and was let go a little over a year and a half ago," Swanson said.

Applications for winter heating assistance are up thirteen percent across the state. At the Human Resource Agency of New Britain, appointments for applications are booked solid through the end of February.

The Senator-elect says the fiscal cliff would cut heating assistance funding by 7 percent which is about five-and-a half million dollars, leaving Connecticut with a potential 20 percent shortage in this crucial help.

"I'm unemployed, not able to go to work, I have five kids in the home, it's rough, " Charise Kirk of New Britain said.

"I've got to keep my apartment cold at all times. I have a kid that's sick," Gladys Arroyo of New Britain said.

Murphy says he's bringing these stories back to Washington where some who are in on the fiscal cliff negotiations think of Connecticut as a wealthy state that can afford the cuts.

"There's a little boy with pneumonia that's getting sicker because his mom can't afford to keep on the heat, that's the reality of what's happening in Connecticut," Murphy said.

The business community has been complaining about all the uncertainty surrounding the 'fiscal cliff' but if you've been unemployed for a year and a half and your checks have run out these negotiations in Washington provide a very different kind of uncertainty.

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If you can't afford to heat your home, build a fire in your living room and start burning your furniture. The republican way

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