As winter approaches and the economy continues to sputter forward, seniors will need help getting funds to meet their energy needs this winter. Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the release of $101 million in emergency contingency funding to help eligible low-income homeowners and renters meet their home energy needs. These Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) contingency funds will provide states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia with additional assistance to pay heating and cooling costs. Funds will be allocated to all states based on their regular block grant allocations. The contingency funds released are in addition to the $4.5 billion in LIHEAP block grant funding and the $490 million in emergency contingency funds received by states earlier this year. In total, Congress appropriated $5.1 billion for LIHEAP in Fiscal Year 2010.
"During these times of economic uncertainty, far too many Americans face difficulties affording the basics, such as utilities" said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The release of these funds will help ease those worries, and assure individuals, particularly those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, that they will not be left behind during the cold winter months ahead."