Critical funding to help keep homes warm comes as energy costs skyrocket
Washington, D.C. – Following a bipartisan push led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI), the State of Maine has been awarded $42.5 million through the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides funding to help low-income households pay their energy bills.
Senators Collins and Reed, senior members of the Appropriations Committee, led efforts to include $4 billion for LIHEAP in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations package that was signed into law earlier this year. In addition, they worked with their colleagues to secure $1 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the program in the short-term funding package that was signed into law last month. This supplemental funding—coupled with additional funding authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure law that Senator Collins co-authored—provided a nearly $7.2 million boost in LIHEAP for Maine, on top of the state’s typical allocation.
“With the average price of home heating oil currently a staggering $5.42 per gallon, it is going to be extraordinarily challenging for many Maine families to stay warm this winter,” said Senator Collins. “Given the sharp increase in energy prices this year, this funding will be essential to helping ensure that low-income families and seniors do not have to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine. I am pleased that the Administration heeded our call to distribute these critical funds appropriated by Congress as quickly as possible.”
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 heating oil, 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.
This funding is particularly critical given that the average cost of home heating is unaffordable for millions of low income households costing over $1000 per year. The increase cost
s of staying warm this winter is 17% higher on average than last year. Last year, more than 30,000 Maine households benefitted from LIHEAP.
More information on how to apply can be found here: https://www.mainehousing.org/programs-services/energy/energydetails/home-energy-assistance-program