WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Obama Administration is releasing $3.01 billion in low-income heating assistance funds under the FY 2016 Continuing Resolution (CR).  Under this initial release, Rhode Island will receive $23.3 million to help families and seniors keep warm this winter.

Earlier this month, Senators Reed and Susan Collins (R-ME) led a bipartisan group of 40 senators calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Obama Administration officials to release these Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds without delay and at as high a level as possible.

“We want to ensure seniors and families stay safe and warm this winter, so I am pleased the Obama Administration has heeded my call to release this vital heating assistance as Rhode Islanders begin to prepare for the cold months ahead.  LIHEAP is an important lifeline that helps vulnerable families throughout the state meet the financial challenges of home heating costs during the winter.  With winter approaching, it is critical to get this assistance to those who need it most,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills.  The program is available to assist Rhode Islanders who need assistance meeting the increasing cost of home energy and/or reducing the severity of an energy-related crisis.  Rhode Island’s LIHEAP is administered by the Department of Human Services, and about 35,000 Rhode Islanders received assistance through the program last year.

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

According to HHS, states will soon receive approximately 90% of their full year allocations under the FY 2016 Continuing Resolution.  This level gives states certainty to plan for their upcoming heating season while allowing Congress flexibility in setting a final funding level for the program when it wraps up work on the 2016 appropriations process.

Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.