Heat and electricity are essential and basic human needs during a Michigan winter. THAW was established in 1985 in order to improve the quality of life in Michigan and prevent human suffering by helping low-income families who were falling through the ever-widening cracks of existing social service programs. Now, more than 20 years later, the number of Michigan households facing huge energy burdens is staggering. For instance, more than 180,000 Michigan households must pay 42% of their income just to heat and light their homes. An additional 103,000 households pay more than 17% of their income for home energy (an affordable level for home energy is 6% of household income.)
Low-income households often must choose between paying their bills and paying for food or healthcare. By keeping people safe and warm in their homes, THAW helps avoid community problems such as homelessness, theft, and vandalism. Children are able to attend school and do their homework without disruption. Fires, illness, and even death are prevented by avoiding the use of dangerous sources of energy.
Since its inception in 1986, THAW has provided more than $69.7 million in assistance to more than 124,000 Michigan households, including elderly, unemployed, underemployed, disabled individuals who found themselves in temporary crisis.