Markey Hails $121m LIHEAP Release for Mass.
Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 2022242742
Eben BurnhamSnyder (Markey) 2022242742
Markey, 39 Senators called for energy assistance relief on Thursday
Washington (November 4, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass) today hailed the release of $121.7 million in home energy assistance funds for Massachusetts from the Department of Health and Human Services under the LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) program. Last Thursday, Senator Markey joined 39 other Senators from both parties in urging HHS to release funds as quickly as possible at as high of a level as possible under the current continuing resolution as states prepare their home heating programs for winter. The release today is 90 percent of 2013 levels, for a total of $2.9 billion for all states.
"As the mercury drops and the heating bills start to rise, these funds are vital for working families who have to make tough budgetary choices every month," said Senator Markey. "The mindless cuts of sequestration have already weakened this lifesaving program, and we need to make sure that we deliver the most funding we can as quickly as we can to protect Massachusetts families from the cold. I will continue to work to ensure that LIHEAP funds are released as needed this winter and will fight to provide additional funding for LIHEAP in any final appropriations bill."
Rising energy prices and the recovering economy have forced record numbers of Americans to apply for home heating assistance in recent years, and the number of households eligible for the program continues to significantly exceed those able to receive assistance. Yet despite these challenges, in recent years there have been significant reductions to LIHEAP funding. Nationally, funding for LIHEAP has been decreased by more than a third over the last four years, leading to funding cuts of more than $60 million for Massachusetts over that time. As a result, the average LIHEAP benefit for a Massachusetts family fell more than 40 percent from FY2010 to FY2012. In Massachusetts roughly 200,000 families received heating assistance from LIHEAP in FY2012, a decline of nearly six percent from the previous year.
A copy of the letter sent last Thursday, October 31 can be found HERE .