200,000 Massachusetts low-income households rely on home energy assistance program
Boston (March 30, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined 37 Senators in a bipartisan call to Appropriations Committee leadership for increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing vital assistance during both the cold winter and hot summer months. In the letter, the Senators request funding at no less than $4.7 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by Congress at the end of 2014 provides $3.39 billion in LIHEAP funding through September 30, 2015.
“LIHEAP assistance is an indispensable lifeline, helping to ensure that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and affording other necessities like food and medicine,” write the Senators in the letter. “Access to affordable home energy is a matter of health and safety for many low-income households, children, and seniors.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
According to the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, the current funding level is able to serve roughly 20 percent of the eligible population, and those who receive LIHEAP assistance have seen their average grant, reduced by nearly $100 since 2010, from $520 in FY 2010 to $424 in FY 2014.
Senator Markey also is author of the law that established the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.