Coming out of a winter freeze across the Midwest, hard-hit households across rural and urban Indiana were battling post-winter heating bill pile-ups, with utilities thankfully stepping up to do their part in the form of working with delinquent customers to keep the electricity on.
As the cold weather continues to extend itself, so too do deadlines around the country for LIHEAP Emergency Assistance applications from families desperate to keep the heat on during the frigid winter storms around the country, from rural households snowed in from the storms with power lines down in regions like Upstate New York, where the Daily Gazette reported in late February that the state would make another $15 million in energy assistance available to approximately 35,000 families.
Heat was the headline of the month as many of the hottest temperatures on record plagued the country indiscriminate of geography. Communities everywhere were draining LIHEAP funds to help cool homes. The North East Community Action Corporation of Hannibal, MO, announced in a new record that over HALF their available LIHEAP funds had already been spent within the FIRST WEEK of availability! Local television station WGEM captured the crisis in an interview with NECAC Services Coordinator Gwen Koch, who confirmed that “right now, we have already spent 64% of the funding. that just started June 1st, so given that we don’t know how much longer it’s going to last, but a lot of people have already hit that 300, so unfortunately that makes it really hard on people.”
Today, the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved LIHEAP FY2019 funding at $3.7B, calling for an increase of $50M over FY2018 levels. This follows the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee call for FY2019 funding at levels consistent with FY2018 at $3.64B.
The Campaign for Home Energy Assistance thanks Chairman Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray for seeing the vital necessity of funding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.