Today, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced the release of $4.5 billion in relief funds through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income families afford home heating and cooling costs and meet unpaid electric and natural gas bills. These funds will also help families make cost-effective home energy repairs.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion emergency relief bill - the American Rescue Plan (ARP) — aimed at providing additional relief to the millions of individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the American Rescue Plan, states, the District of Columbia, territories, and tribes will receive $4.5 billion in additional funding.
“Today’s release is the single largest increase in funding for home energy assistance in our nation’s history,” JooYeun Chang, ACF Acting Assistant Secretary stated. “With the additional funds allocated for LIHEAP, ACF will significantly expand the safety net for families and help provide critical relief to the millions of individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
LIHEAP, which is administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS) at ACF, provides funding to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and tribes to assist households with paying energy bills and weatherizing homes for energy improvements. All of the LIHEAP funds appropriated by the American Rescue Plan will remain available for obligation by grantees through FY 2022.
“Unsafe indoor temperatures and unmanageable utility arrearages that can lead to utility shut-offs are unacceptable, particularly during a pandemic in which millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet,” said Dr. Lanikque Howard, director of the Office of Community Services at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. “These funds will help households with limited incomes pay their utility bills and use the financial resources they do have to pay for other critical necessities such as food, housing, and medicine.”
LIHEAP funding helps households meet home energy needs, including vulnerable households with very young children, individuals with disabilities, and older individuals. Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance can search for their local LIHEAP intake agency or office using HHS’ map of LIHEAP Local Agency Locations. Alternatively, they can contact their state, territory or tribal office, or contact OCS for assistance at (202) 401-9351.
“Today’s release is the single largest increase in funding for home energy assistance in our nation’s history.”— JooYeun Chang, ACF Acting Assistant Secretary
Administration for Children & Families
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