Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will release $39,793,122 in funding through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The funding includes $1,454,439 for tribal governments.
Preserving LIHEAP funding is a priority for Senator Collins, and she has worked to block attempts to pare back the funding appropriated for this critical program. Earlier this month, Senator Collins led a letter with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, urging him to release LIHEAP funds as quickly as possible. Their letter was signed by 40 bipartisan Senators, including Senator Angus King (I-ME). Moreover, earlier this year, Senators Collins and Reed wrote a letter signed by 44 of their colleagues, including Senator King, calling on the Administration to restore and continue to prioritize funding for LIHEAP in fiscal year 2019.
“Vulnerable Mainers rely on the LIHEAP program to keep warm during the winter months,” said Senator Collins. “This funding will help 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 has acted to distribute these critical funds.”
The following funding will be allocated to Maine tribes, which is a portion of the $39,793,122 in LIHEAP funds awarded to the State of Maine:
- Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians $173,100
- Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians $173,100
- Passamaquoddy Tribe--Indian Township $330,283
- Passamaquoddy Tribe--Pleasant Point $460,805
- Penobscot Tribe $317,151
LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing vital assistance during both the cold winter and hot summer months. LIHEAP households are among the most vulnerable in the country. According to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, more than 90 percent of LIHEAP recipients have at least one household member who is a child, elderly, or disabled, and 20 percent of households include at least one veteran.