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More Wisconsinites needing heating help

The number of Wisconsinites who need help to heat their homes this winter is up 14 percent from a year ago.

Sheree Dallas Branch, who runs the assistance program for the state Division of Energy Services, blames the economy for the increase.

She says people who have never applied before are doing so even if they had qualified in the past but did not seek help for some reason.

Dallas Branch says the applicants include those who've lost their jobs or whose money is not stretching as it should.

She says more people are talking about the need for heating assistance and for the first time in a long time Washington is really paying attention.

The program was expecting a base of around $69 million this winter. But it's already received $147 million.