The Biden administration announced that $4.5 billion in assistance will help lower heating costs for American families this winter to give working middle-class American families more breathing room.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds – distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services – will go to states, territories, and tribes.
LIHEAP is a federal social services program first established in 1981, when Congress distributed proceeds of the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act to counter rising energy prices.
In addition to subsidizing home heating costs this winter and covering unpaid utility bills, the federal program will help families make cost-effective home energy repairs to lower their heating and cooling bills.
The funds are a combination of regular appropriations by Congress, $100 million from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and additional emergency funding Congress included in the September continuing resolution following the Biden-Harris Administration’s request for these funds.
“For more than 40 years, this program has helped low-income families pay their home heating and cooling bills,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “As heating costs increase, it is more important than ever to help families struggling to make ends meet. With this funding, we will help protect the health and well-being of Americans by keeping them safe and warm this winter.”
This past year, LIHEAP served over 5.3 million households with heating, cooling, and weatherization services. This support was particularly important during the winter and summer months, as millions of Americans dealt with extreme weather and natural disasters.
“No family or person should have to go without needed heating or cooling in their home,” said ACF Assistant Secretary January Contreras. “This funding will support struggling individuals and families by helping lift the economic burden of staying warm this winter.”
“Low-income households spend three times more of their income on energy costs than more affluent households,” said Dr. Lanikque Howard, director of ACF Office of Community Services. “As extreme weather events increase in frequency, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to ensure individuals and families are aware of, apply for, and receive assistance.”
The Biden administration is committed to lowering energy costs for American families, especially as winter approaches and Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to pressure the global energy market.
Biden has been releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices and calling on energy companies to stop gouging consumers. He also secured the Inflation Reduction Act, which utility CEOs say will save American families hundreds of dollars a month on utility bills.
Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance can visit energyhelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline toll-free at: 1-866-674-6327.