June 2017 LIHEAP News Wrap Up

Extra LIHEAP Funding to the Rescue

Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown

LIHEAP Summer 2017

As Time Magazine warned that the heat waves sweeping the summer could lead to "extreme temperature conditions" and that heat strokes can "lead to a number of ailments or even death," the Federal Register offered a bit of welcomed news that unexpected additional LIHEAP funds totaling $3,253,866 were available to states, territories, tribes, and tribal organizations.

Demonstrating the diversity of communities who benefited from 2016's re-allotment, beneficiaries included a number of prominent Native American Tribal nations like Cocopah Tribe of Arizona, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Hoh Indian Tribe, Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, Poarch Band of Creeks, Quinault Indian Nation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, The Chickasaw Nation, and states like Arkansas, Georgia, and not surprisingly Vermont. 

Back East in Pennsylvania, the Energy Association of PA (EAoP) warned that Pennsylvanians should take precautions when working outside in the extreme heat. EAoP President and CEO Terrance J. Fitzpatrick added that “Pennsylvania’s energy utilities want to educate the public on how to stay safe...and avoid potentially hazardous situations."

Continuing to be a crucial component to surviving the sweltering Southern summers, states like  Arkansas were hard at work getting word out about the availability of summer LIHEAP assistance. Pine Bluff-Jefferson County's Economic Opportunities Commission broadcasted that they were open for business to take both regular and crisis grants to households in need of help keeping the temperature turned down.  

Meanwhile, the Southern Alliance of Clean Energy featured a guest editorial by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's Senior Policy Advisor Lowell Ungar. In his piece, Ungar illustrated the true wide-ranging reach of LIHEAP as a positive force within the communities it serves, noting that federal energy efficiency programs programs support "the largest job creator in the US energy sector – energy efficiency – which accounts for at least 2.2. million jobs."

Underscoring the risks of the traditionally scorching summers that the state of Texas was battling, the Dallas County Health and Human Services announced they were aiming "to increase the efficiency of energy usage in a safe manner for eligible Dallas County residents in low-income households," specifically prioritizing those homes with "elderly/disabled residents and households with children that are 5 years of age and younger" because "statistics show they are the most vulnerable to the high cost of energy. " 

In California, a brave face of LIHEAP, Rodolfo Galvan, spoke up on the difference the program made this past winter. Galvan, who was one of 1,404 households the Santa Barbara Community Action Commission assisted last year to the tune of $425,000 in utility assistance, candidly affirming that "I feel so much more comfortable in my home, this winter has been so much warmer after receiving a new furnace."