Its summer, it’s hot and it’s a perfect time to raise awareness of the need for full funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP was created by Congress to help our nation’s low-income households stay warm during the winter and cool in the summer. In a depressed economy, many low-income citizens cannot afford to heat and cool their homes because of financial woes.
LIHEAP is a block grant program under which the federal government gives states annual grants to operate home energy assistance programs for low-income households, and these funds go directly to those who need it most. Every year, Congress must appropriate funds for LIHEAP, and for the past two years, Congress has funded LIHEAP at the fully authorized level of $5.1 billion. Even with funding at $5.1 billion, only 1 in 5 eligible low-income households are served by the program. In February, the Obama administration released the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget for government spending, which recommended a total of only $3.3 billion for the FY 2011 LIHEAP. With the need for LIHEAP at a record high, the administration’s proposed reduction in LIHEAP funding is disappointing.
AGA is actively lobbying Congress to appropriate at least $5.1 billion in FY 2011 for LIHEAP. But with a very tight budget, we need to convince Congress to fully fund this important program. That is why AGA, along with our utility members and other organizations are getting together on Wednesday, July 28th for Summer LIHEAP Action Day. During this event, we will travel to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and lobby for full funding of LIHEAP.
I hope you are able to join us as this event is bound to be a great one—you will hear from key Congressional members regarding legislative updates and the latest information about the LIHEAP funding issue. For more details, please visit the Summer LIHEAP Action Day web site. Or click here to register online.