LIHEAP funding to help low-income households and seniors pay their energy bills was provided through the bipartisan infrastructure law co-sponsored by both Senators
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) announced that the State of Maine has received a total of $683,464 to help families heat their homes this winter. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
This funding represents the first installment of the five-year, $500 million investment in LIHEAP included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Senator Collins, the Ranking Member of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, was part of the core group of 10 Senators who negotiated the text of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
“LIHEAP is a critical program that helps Mainers keep warm during the winter months,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This investment will help ensure that low-income families and seniors do not have to choose between paying for heat and paying for other necessities such as food or medicine, especially given the sharp increase in energy prices this year. This is another example of how the bipartisan infrastructure law is providing substantial benefits to Maine’s communities and families.”
The additional funding for LIHEAP is particularly critical given that the average cost of home heating is unaffordable for millions of low-income households, costing over $900 per year nationally. Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP in 2020. In 2020, Maine was awarded more than $40 million in annual federal LIHEAP appropriations, which served nearly 33,000 households across the state.
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 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.
Preserving LIHEAP funding is a perennial bipartisan priority for Senator Collins, who has long led the effort with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) to fully fund the program. Following a bipartisan push led by Senators Collins and Reed and joined by Senator King, HHS released LIHEAP funding in November 2021, providing the State of Maine with $35 million.