Following Bipartisan Push by Senators Reed and Collins, HHS Releases $3.37 Billion for LIHEAP Program
Critical LIHEAP funding comes as energy costs are forecasted to skyrocket due to supply and economic growth
Washington, D.C. – Following a bipartisan push by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a total of $3.37 billion through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides funding to help low-income households pay their energy bills.
“Temperatures are starting to drop just as worldwide energy prices are rising. I commend the Biden Administration for heeding our call to rapidly release this LIHEAP money, which will help folks in need keep the heat on this winter. LIHEAP is a real a lifesaver for many vulnerable families. It helps them stretch their budgets so they can afford medicine, food, and other essentials,” said Senator Reed.
“During our long winters, vulnerable Mainers rely on the LIHEAP program to keep warm during the colder months,” said Senator Collins. “This funding will help ensure that low-income households do not have to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine. With the sharp increase in energy prices expected this year, the release of these funds come at a critical time for Maine families and seniors.”
Of the $3.37 billion, Rhode Island will receive a total of $21,908,447. Maine will be awarded a total of $35,028,729.
Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP in 2020. Last year, Rhode Island was awarded $24 million in annual federal LIHEAP appropriations, as well as a $30.8 million one-time boost for the program through the American Rescue Plan. Over 26,000 Rhode Island households benefitted from LIHEAP last year, with the average annual LIHEAP benefit covering about $550 in winter home heating costs for Rhode Islanders. Last year, Maine was awarded more than $40 million in annual federal LIHEAP appropriations, which served nearly 33,000 households in Maine.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills by providing payment and/or energy crisis assistance to pay for gas, electric, and other methods customers use to heat their homes. LIHEAP is administered by states and accessed through local Community Action Agencies. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.