WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the availability of additional funding to help eligible low-income families meet their home energy needs, bringing the total made available since October 1 to $3.9 billion. These funds will go to states, tribes and territories under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and are available under the terms of the latest continuing resolution.
"Much of the country has already experienced a very cold winter," said Secretary Sebelius. "Today's additional funds will help struggling families keep safe and warm for the remainder of the season."
LIHEAP assists qualified families with their home energy needs such as heating in the winter, cooling their homes in the summer, and insulating their homes to make them more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs. By doing so, families are less likely to have to choose between paying their energy bills and other necessities, such as food or medicine. Energy assistance can reduce illness or the risk of fires that can break out when households turn to using candles or space heaters because they cannot pay their electricity or gas bill.
The block grant funds released today supplement two previous releases of funds under continuing resolutions in Fiscal Year 2011.
"As temperatures drop, heating costs can pose a serious challenge for struggling families," said David A. Hansell, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. "At the start of a new year, these additional LIHEAP funds will help ease the financial burdens for many families."