$6.5 million will Assist Low-Income Families with Energy Costs
Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided an additional $6,530,804 to Pennsylvania to assist the Commonwealth's low-income families in paying their energy bills. The funding is administered through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes in the winter and cooling their homes in the summer.
The administration's announcement comes on the heels of a letter that Senators Specter and Casey and other Senators sent to the President calling on him to release the remaining LIHEAP contingency funds to address the pressing energy needs of families and seniors. Today's nationwide release of $120 million in funding represents the final LIHEAP funds available for Fiscal Year 2008.
"I am pleased that the administration has released the remaining contingency funds for low-income families to help pay their energy bills," Senator Specter said. "This funding comes at a critical time with record high energy costs and many Pennsylvanians still reeling from being forced to choose between heating and eating this past winter."
"Families across Pennsylvania are facing tough times and economic uncertainty. High food, health care and energy costs leave us worried about what is to come," said Senator Casey. "I'm pleased President Bush listened and agreed to release emergency home heating funding as the cold weather begins. But we must do more to help families from being left in the cold. Congress must enact legislation like the Warm in Winter, Cool In Summer bill that provides full funding for home energy assistance."
With today's $6.5 million, Pennsylvania will have received $191,758,695 in LIHEAP funding in Fiscal Year 2008, second only to New York.
LIHEAP is a federal block grant program that provides states with annual funding to operate home energy assistance programs for low-income households. According to the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance, 400,000 Pennsylvania households have received LIHEAP assistance in 2008 - less than half of the eligible households. Less than one fifth of low-income household's energy costs are covered by LIHEAP according to the Utility Emergency Services Fund.