HHS Awards Nearly $1.6 Billion to Support Low Income Households to Lower Heating and Cooling Costs
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), announced the award of $560 million this week in addition to the $1 billion awarded last month for a total of $1.56 billion to help cover American households home heating and cooling costs. The grant awards are part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income households with their energy costs – a program that the Biden Administration significantly increased funding for through the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. This past year, LIHEAP served over 6 million households with heating, cooling, and weatherization services. This release brings the total LIHEAP funding for Fiscal Year 2023 to $6.1 billion, and is part of the Biden Administration’s broader efforts to lower costs for American families and give them more breathing room.
“The Biden-Harris administration continues to put working families at the forefront. LIHEAP helps pay home energy bills, ensuring families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, further protecting the health and well-being of Americans,” said Secretary Becerra.
These awards build on historic investments in LIHEAP during the Biden-Harris administration. In October 2022, LIHEAP released $4.5 billion in funding, which included $100 million of funding appropriated for FY23 through President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. Together, these funding releases total $6.1 billion, increasing the Biden administration’s historic investment of $3.9 billion in LIHEAP funding in FY 2022, and $8.2 billion in FY 2021.
“LIHEAP provides a vital lifeline to households struggling to maintain affordable home energy services,” said ACF Assistant Secretary January Contreras. “As the nation grapples with the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, which disproportionately impacts communities of color and lower-income households, LIHEAP is especially important to creating greater equity in accessing energy services.”
LIHEAP provides households with not only energy assistance, but also provides crisis and weatherization assistance to help achieve safe and healthy indoor temperatures. LIHEAP’s assistance with weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs, including the use of renewable energy, helps reduce energy consumption and make homes more energy efficient.
“For more than 42 years, LIHEAP has helped households maintain safe indoor temperatures each winter and summer,” said Dr. Lanikque Howard, director of the ACF Office of Community Services. “With an appropriation of $6.1 billion, LIHEAP is well-positioned to support millions of households this year by reconnecting households to home energy services, preventing energy disconnections, and making energy bills more affordable.”
Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should visit energyhelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline toll-free at 1-866-674-6327.
For more information about LIHEAP and other Administration for Children and Families’ anti-poverty programs, visit the OCS website.