LIHEAP DCL Release of Research Brief on Energy Assistance Funding Approaches
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY
Dear Colleague Letter
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Date: April 22, 2014
TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
SUBJECT: Release of Research Brief on Energy Assistance Funding Approaches
We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) has released a research brief on state energy assistance funding approaches.
States rely on a variety of funding sources to help low-income residents pay their utility bills and reduce home energy costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), administered by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the chief source of federal low-income energy assistance. However, a variety of other federal, state and local programs and resources also play key roles in helping vulnerable Americans heat, cool and weatherize their homes.
As a block grant program that is not an entitlement, LIHEAP serves only a small proportion of those eligible for benefits, and funding for the program has fluctuated considerably over the past several years. The relatively limited reach of the program compared to overall need is an incentive for states to identify and use nonfederal funding sources. While the assistance provided from these other sources is key, little is known about how individual states utilize these various funding streams to provide energy assistance. This research brief presents findings from a qualitative study of energy assistance funding sources and strategies in six purposively selected states — California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. It identifies promising practices that other states may want to consider as they confront limited federal energy assistance funding and that may merit further study.
OCS staff worked closely with ASPE on the development of this research brief. We hope that you find the information presented in the brief useful to your own thinking about how LIHEAP can be coordinated and leveraged with other federal and non-federal resources to offer the most comprehensive energy assistance services possible to low-income households.
Lauren Christopher Jeannie L. Chaffin
Division of Energy Assistance Office of Community Services