PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is releasing $21.8 million through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Rhode Island families and seniors keep warm this winter. In October, Senator Reed, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and 40 of their colleagues, urged HHS to quickly release this funding to the states.
“As temperatures begin to drop, LIHEAP funds are a lifeline for many vulnerable Americans. Each year, this vital program helps thousands of Rhode Island families to keep the heat on and stay warm. No one should have to choose between paying their heating bills and paying for other essentials like food and medicine. I am pleased to help deliver these critical LIHEAP funds now so states like Rhode Island can prepare for the upcoming winter,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the leading Congressional champion of the LIHEAP program. “Congress appropriated this money to help people pay their energy bills and I’m pleased the Trump Administration is finally getting the money out to states to assist those in need.”
While the Trump Administration has sought to eliminate LIHEAP from the budget, Senator Reed, along with Senator Collins, led the bipartisan effort to prevent those cuts and successfully secured $3.7 billion for LIHEAP in the FY20 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that was signed into law.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills by providing payment and/or energy crisis assistance. Rhode Island’s LIHEAP is administered by the Department of Human Services, and accessed through local Community Action Agencies. Last year, about 30,000 Rhode Islanders received LIHEAP assistance. The average annual LIHEAP benefit to Rhode Island households that use the program is in the range of about $720.
Rhode Islanders wishing to apply for LIHEAP may go to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services website to get more information and links to an online application. Or, Rhode Islanders may contact their local Community Action Agency. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.