In an effort to help more Rhode Islanders reduce their home energy costs, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that Rhode Island is getting an additional $6.65 million through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), thanks to the Biden Administration releasing $1 billion in LIHEAP aid today to states nationwide.
Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, helped provide a total of $6.1 billion for LIHEAP in FY 2023.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills by providing payment and energy crisis assistance to pay for gas, electric, and other methods customers use to heat their homes.
This latest allocation brings Rhode Island’s FY 2023 appropriation for LIHEAP up to $36.1 million so far this year.
Earlier this month, Senators Reed and Susan Collins (R-ME) led 30 of their fellow U.S. Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the swift allocation of remaining emergency LIHEAP funds. After this latest $1 billion drawdown, HHS still has about $500 million in LIHEAP reserves that will be distributed to states later this year.
“This latest infusion of federal LIHEAP funding will help keep home energy costs more affordable for those in need. In addition to easing the strain on household budgets, it also provides an economic boost for local small businesses that supply home heating fuel to customers with fixed or limited incomes,” said Senator Reed.
“This week’s snowstorm is another reminder that we are still in the heart of winter. Many Mainers, particularly low-income families and seniors, are struggling with the high cost of energy to keep their homes warm,” said Senator Collins. “I strongly advocated for these increased funds and pushed for their swift release to help prevent vulnerable Mainers from having to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine.”
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.
Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP.
Over 29,300 Rhode Island households are expected to receive LIHEAP assistance this winter heating season, with the average LIHEAP benefit covering about $680 in winter home heating costs for Rhode Islanders.
Rhode Islanders wishing to apply for LIHEAP may click here to reach the Rhode Island Department of Human Services website to get more information and links to an online application.
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