By EDITH ZHOU
Capital News Service
LANSING – A new Vulnerable Household Warmth Fund in the Department of Human Services is temporarily replacing a decade-old state program to help low-income residents heat their homes this winter. The fund will provide $58 million to help consumers pay their gas and electric bills. That’s less than $87 million available last year and $89 million in 2010 when the program was under the public service commission, according to its reports. “With the cuts to the fund, many seniors and low-income residents will be paying more to keep their homes warm in the months ahead,” said Judy Putnam, the communications director of the Michigan League for Human Services, an advocacy group. “While the Vulnerable Household Warmth Fund is better than no assistance, it was a ‘fix’ to something that was never broken,” she said.