Jennifer O'Shea Beating the Heat with Summer LIHEAP Action Day

As we continue to experience record high temperatures throughout the country, it couldn’t be a better time than now to help bring attention to the critical need for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding. On July 28, along with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN), we hosted a Summer LIHEAP Action Day to build awareness about this valuable program that saves lives every year.

The purpose of the event was to bring together LIHEAP advocates and recipients from across the county to help convince Congress to fully fund LIHEAP at $5.1 billion for FY11 and encourage an increase to $7.6 billion as outlined in Rep. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Energy Assistance for American Families Act. President Obama proposed LIHEAP funding for FY11 at a level of $3.3 billion, down from $5.1 billion in FY10 and FY09.

We also called on Congress to release the remaining 2010 LIHEAP contingency resources–$100 million—to help vulnerable Americans who cannot afford to cool their homes during these blazing summer months.

Throughout the day there were various activities, and one of the most exciting events was the press conference we hosted on Capitol Hill where we were fortunate to be joined by Congressman Gene Green and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Both from Texas, they certainly understand how high the mercury can rise, and how dangerous high temperatures can be for those without energy assistance. We were happy to have them with us to echo our calls for LIHEAP funding—for both heating and cooling.

You can see some of the photos of the press conference at the end of this post. You can see more photos from the day’s events on our Flickr stream.

Another highlight of Summer LIHEAP Action Day was when Dave Parker and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) were presented with awards from NFFN. Dave Parker was awarded the Sister Pat Kelly Achievement Award, NFFN’s highest energy assistance recognition award. This award is given to individuals who have demonstrated superior achievements in goals set by NFFN: increasing public awareness and understanding of low-income energy issues; influencing energy-related policies beneficial to low-income people; assisting in the creation and development of fuel funds; promoting communication and coordination among parties concerned with low-income energy issues on national, regional, and statewide levels. Rep. Markey (D-Mass) was presented with The Extra Mile Award, which recognizes legislative achievement on behalf of LIHEAP.

Here are photos of Dave and Rep. Markey receiving these prestigious awards.

Rep. Markey (D-Mass) with The Extra Mile Award, which recognizes legislative achievement on behalf of LIHEAP. Dave Parker with the Sister Pat Kelly Achievement Award, NFFN’s highest energy assistance recognition award.

While the cold winter months seem distant as we read the temperatures these days, our next LIHEAP Action Day will be here before we know it. Make sure to mark your calendar for February 9, 2011 so you can join us in the nation’s capital as we continue to make sure LIHEAP funding is available for those who need it most.

And don’t forget to post your thoughts about LIHEAP below in the comments—we always like to hear how this great program is helping folks throughout the nation.

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