Funding will Assist Low-Income Families with Heating Costs
Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided $308,394,335 to Pennsylvania to assist the Commonwealth's low-income families in paying their heating 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.
"I am pleased that the administration has released this funding for low-income families to help pay their heating bills this winter," Senator Specter said. "With high energy costs and so many Pennsylvanians facing the alternative of heating or eating this winter, the funding comes at a key time."
"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 the administration has released this home heating before as the cold weather begins, but at the same time we must do more to help families from being left in the cold. Congress must enact legislation that will permanently provide full funding for home energy assistance."
The funding, as provided through the Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2009, must be provided to the state within 30 days of enactment of the resolution as required by law. In total, HHS is releasing $5.1 billion today to states through block grant formulas and contingency emergency funds.
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.