Last week, Congressman Andrews urged his colleagues to protect funding for a vital program which will help more than one million low-income New Jersey residents pay their heating bill this winter. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps seniors and struggling families afford their heating bill during the cold winter months, may be slashed by $1.6 billion by Congressional appropriators. Rep. Andrews stands in strong opposition to these cuts.
Due to the current recession, applications to LIHEAP are at an all high time high, and cuts to this program will cause thousands of New Jersey residents to suffer. Rising gas prices already threaten to make it impossible for many across the state to pay their heating bills. This means that if funding is cut, many families would have to choose between staying warm or buying groceries. Thus, it is not only important that this program is funded at prior levels, but it must also be increased to meet the rise in demand.
"The numbers in the House and Senate bills are not high enough, and I'm going to do what I can to make them higher," said Rep. Andrews. "Warmth in the winter months is not a luxury, it is a basic need. The people who rely on LIHEAP don't have an alternative. The alternative is to sleep in a house that's 50 degrees."
Congressman Andrews has pledged to continue fighting to maintain the current level of funding for LIHEAP, with the goal of ensuring that no New Jersey resident goes without heat this winter. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs administers these federal funds. For information concerning energy assistance in New Jersey, including Home Energy Assistance applications, visit http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/eap.html or contact the Department of Community Affairs at (609) 633-2378.