Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Legislature's Emergency Board today approved an additional $2.1 million for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), ensuring the same purchasing power for heating fuel (oil, kerosene, propane) as last winter to participants.
The 2013 Legislature approved $6 million for this program as part of the annual appropriation bill, with the expectation that additional funds might be necessary once the federal funding level and other factors, such as a more aggressive discount fuel purchasing plan, were known. The total amount of funds for this year's LIHEAP will be approximately $25.7 million. Funds will be distributed in the first half of November.
No state funds were contributed to the LIHEAP prior to federal fiscal year 2005. In recent years, federal funds have steadily declined from a high of $38.6 million in 2009 to an expected $17 million for this winter.
"While everyone understands that Vermont, like other states, cannot make up for all of the federal cutbacks coming our way, keeping our needy neighbors from freezing in their homes in the winter has to be a priority," the Governor said.