WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that
the Trump Administration is releasing $22,412,085 through the Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Rhode Island families and seniors
keep warm this winter.
“We’re starting to feel the first of winter’s frost and this
LIHEAP money will be a lifesaver for many. It helps vulnerable families
keep the heat on in the dead of winter, and it helps them stretch their budgets
so they can afford medicine, food, and other essentials. It is critical
to get LIHEAP funding out the door so states like Rhode Island can prepare for
the upcoming winter,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Senate
Appropriations Committee and the leading Congressional champion of the LIHEAP
Earlier this year, the Trump Administration sought to
eliminate LIHEAP from the budget. Senator Reed, along with Senator Susan
Collins (R-ME), led the bipartisan effort to prevent those cuts and
successfully secured $3.39 billion for LIHEAP in the FY18 Departments of Labor,
Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In September, Reed and
Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by 37 of their colleagues
urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release funds
for LIHEAP as quickly and at as high a level as possible under the current
LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that helps low-income
households with their home energy bills. The program is available to help
Rhode Islanders who need assistance in 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
Rhode Island has some of the oldest housing stock in the
nation and Senator Reed has led efforts to help Rhode Islanders improve energy
efficiency and weatherize homes to reduce high household energy bills.
The average annual LIHEAP benefit to Rhode Island households
that use the program is in the range of about $820-$850, according to the Rhode
Island Department of Human Services.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, states are receiving approximately 90% of their full year allocations
under the FY 2018 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 appropriations process for this fiscal year.
Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and
the availability of resources. Households in need are encouraged to sign
up early for LIHEAP to ensure they receive assistance.