PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that the Obama Administration is releasing $2.9 billion in low-income heating assistance funds under the FY 2014 Continuing Resolution (CR).  Under this release, Rhode Island will receive $20.7 million.

Earlier this year, Senators Reed and Susan Collins (R-ME) worked to include language in the continuing resolution to fund LIHEAP at the higher Fiscal Year 2012 enacted level of $3.47 billion.  Unfortunately, this funding remains subject to automatic, across the board sequestration cuts, which both Senators oppose and support addressing.  Without the Reed-Collins language, LIHEAP would have been subject to even deeper cuts during the cold winter months ahead.

“I am pleased the Obama Administration is releasing this vital heating assistance.  LIHEAP helps families in need deal with heating and financial challenges during the cold winter months.  With winter approaching it is critical to speed this assistance to seniors and low-income families in time to help with their heating bills,” said Reed, noting that about 34,000 Rhode Islanders depend on LIHEAP to help with their energy bills.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), states will soon receive 90% of their full year allocations under the FY 2014 Continuing Resolution.  This level gives states certainty to plan for their upcoming heating season while allowing Congress flexibility in setting its final funding level for the program in a final 2014 appropriation, as required by the CR.

“LIHEAP funds are now available for folks needing assistance with their energy bills.  Residents seeking LIHEAP aid may schedule an appointment with their local Community Action Partnership office to apply.   We want to ensure seniors and families stay safe and warm this winter,” said Reed.

Rhode Islanders wishing to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program may go to the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources website to get more information and links to an online application.  Or, Rhode Islanders may contact their local Community Action Program (CAP) Agency.

Eligibility guidelines for the 2013-14 LIHEAP season are the same as last year and are set at 60% of the Rhode Island median income.