Editor’s Note: WHAV News calls attention multiple times annually to the availability of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for households in need.
Congresswoman Lori Trahan was one of the lead sponsors Thursday, asking for an increase for federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help more families pay rising heating costs in light of international turmoil.
Trahan and Congressman James P. McGovern led 114 of their colleagues in seeking an additional $1.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program.
“As you know, LIHEAP helps families who are at risk of being unable to afford to heat their homes in the winter or cool them in the summer. Last year, more than six million households across the country relied on critical assistance from the LIHEAP program,” the lawmakers wrote. “For the families who receive LIHEAP, it is a critical lifeline that prevents them from making the impossible choice between staying warm and having enough food or paying for their medications.”
During the last season, the program distributed a total of more than $4.5 billion in home heating assistance, including $100 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and an additional $1 billion from the government package passed in September 2022. In a statement, Trahan said, “Despite the significant federal investment, LIHEAP continues to be underfunded, with just 20% of eligible households currently receiving assistance through the program.”
Both homeowners and renters are eligible for home heating assistance, following income thresholds, usually less than 150% of the federal poverty guideline or less than 60% of their state’s median income.
Massachusetts was recently awarded a total of $130.5 million in LIHEAP money for this winter, including $126.7 million in formula funding and an additional $3.8 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.