The Biden Administration Mobilizes to Protect Workers and Communities from Extreme Heat
Today, the Biden Administration released a fact sheet entitled, Biden Administration Mobilizes to Protect Workers and Communities from Extreme Heat. The fact sheet is a part of the launch of a coordinated, interagency effort to respond to extreme heat that threatens the lives and livelihoods of Americans across the country, especially workers, children, and seniors. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has an important role to play in responding to extreme heat and heat stress for low income households and communities. As noted in LIHEAP’s most recent blog, LIHEAP American Rescue Plan Funding: Racial and Economic Justice is Also Equity in Energy, low-income households spend three times more of their income on energy costs than more affluent households, with 67 percent of low-income households experiencing high energy burden. Given this, along with the dangerous and sometimes deadly impact of heat stress—extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather-related disaster—it is vital that LIHEAP grantees take advantage of the additional LIHEAP funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help address and mitigate the impacts of extreme heat.
Furthermore, LIHEAP funds can be used for summer crisis assistance and disaster response as we are experiencing heat waves, hurricanes, and flooding across the United States. Given its block grant structure, LIHEAP gives grantees broad discretion and flexibility to make adjustments to their programs now, and throughout the rest of this federal fiscal year, to mitigate the risks of weather-related events, including current and any future extreme weather events. LIHEAP also tracks weather-related events and works to provide the grantees with guidance to enable them to provide comprehensive and timely responses to households. Grantees will be able to utilize all LIHEAP funding including the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds for any purpose normally authorized under the federal LIHEAP statute (42 USC 8621 et seq.), including heating, cooling, crisis, weatherization assistance, case management for the reduction of home energy burden, and administrative costs.
Our guidance includes information on the flexibilities available to grantees in developing their response to each weather related event. We provided LIHEAP grantees guidance documents this summer including LIHEAP IM-2021-01 Heat Stress Flexibilities and Resources and social media posts to the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) Twitter Visit disclaimer page and Facebook Visit disclaimer page accounts. LIHEAP released an outreach one-pager (PDF) advising low-income households that assistance for energy-related costs is available and encouraging them to seek assistance. Last week we released an updated guidance, LIHEAP DCL-2021-09 about flexibilities available to grantees as they continue their disaster recovery from damages caused by Hurricane Ida and associated flooding.
LIHEAP will continue to issue guidance and provide training and technical assistance to grantees in the upcoming weeks and months.