Campaign team members Julie Beltz and Claire Krawsczyn spent the first half of the week with leaders from across the energy assistance field. Over three days, the Campaign talked with dozens of LIHEAP advocates who are working tirelessly to provide energy assistance to households in need.
Now, more than ever, the Campaign is dedicating time and resources into spreading awareness about the program to Members of Congress, politicians, activists, and other key decision makers.
Below are some of Julie and Claire's notable insights from our partners on critical issues facing LIHEAP and the communities it serves:
- Integrated work between community-minded utilities like DTE and on-the-ground organizations like The Salvation Army is critical to moving energy assistance programs forward in innovative ways.
- Researchers such as Libby Perl of Congressional Research Service and Travis McAdam of LIHEAP Clearinghouse continually review LIHEAP data, facts, and figures to ensure the most relevant information is publicly accessible to improve both LIHEAP and the policies that guide it.
- DTE is proving that utilities can expand their customer service efforts to include under-represented audiences. DTE recently launched an effort to connect with Michigan's deaf and hard-of-hearing populations through a video-based interpretation service, making communication and in-home service calls more effective.
- LIHEAP does not operate in a vacuum. Issues affecting the country, including racism, poverty, and institutional inequalities, often impact low-income households more significantly than the general population.
- In direct-to-consumer communication and advocacy efforts, consider using the phrase "income-eligible households" as opposed to "low-income households" to reach a broader audience.
- In the current political climate, it is more important than ever to document the wide-reaching impact of LIHEAP and the reality that it serves only a fraction of eligible households. Data capture and analysis reaffirm the necessity of the program and enable program directors to be more strategic with funds.
If you have questions or are interested in learning more about these insights, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to discuss!