HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced the release of $5.1 billion from the federal governments Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) under the Fiscal Year 2009 Continuing Resolution. The funds will assist states, territories, tribal areas and the District of Columbia with addressing their energy needs, particularly for the upcoming winter season.The release of these funds will help low-income families stay warm this winter, Secretary Leavitt said. These funds will also help reduce the risk of health and safety problems exacerbated by exposure to extreme temperatures.
LIHEAP funding is provided to states through the Office of Community Services in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at HHS. The funds will assist eligible low-income households in meeting their heating and other energy needs.
The funds released by the Bush Administration will help our most vulnerable citizens, including the disabled, elderly and children, said Josephine Robinson, director, Office of Community Services at ACF.
Under the language of the Continuing Resolution, $4.5 billion in block grant funds and $590 million contingency funds must be released by Oct. 30, 2008. Block grant funds will be allocated to states under a formula specified in the Continuing Resolution. Of the $590 million in contingency funds, $100 million will assist states where large numbers of eligible households use heating oil for heat: Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The remaining $490 million will help individuals in all 50 states.