WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced the release of $40 million to help eligible low-income families meet home energy costs. The funds, from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) emergency contingency fund, will provide 11 states with heating assistance for the winter months.
"Winter weather can have a devastating impact on low-income families," Secretary Leavitt said, "With these funds, the Bush administration will help ensure that American families are warm during the coldest time of the year."
LIHEAP helps eligible families pay for home cooling and heating in summer and winter months. Every year, more than 5 million low-income households across the country receive assistance under LIHEAP. The money released today is directed to states with 20 percent of their low-income households using fuel oil as their primary heating source. The Energy Information Administration predicts that average home heating oil expenditures this winter will exceed last year winter's levels by 34 percent.
"Today's announcement highlights the Bush administration's continued commitment to protecting America's most vulnerable citizens," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Daniel Schneider. "These funds will help many Americans stay warm."
The release of $40 million brings the total amount of LIHEAP funds released to date to approximately $2.3 billion this fiscal year, including block grant allocations and the $450 million in contingency funds released to all states on Jan. 16, 2008. One-hundred and twenty one million dollars remains available for unanticipated events in the emergency contingency fund.
States receiving emergency contingency funds today include Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
For a complete list of state allocations of the funds released today go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/news/press/2008/liheap_allotments_40m.html
Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency. For more information, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/liheap/ or http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.html.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services