The Empire State is set to receive $33,337,670 in additional heating assistance funding allocated through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as announced by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand last Friday.
The additional funds will bring the federal assistance total for New York state to over $377 million.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, each year many of whom are seniors on a fixed income, rely on LIHEAP funding to help pay for the home heating costs that have become a large and larger share of their budget. This additional funding will help people cover costs during this very cold winter and will mean fewer people will have to choose between paying for heat and the rent, heat and prescription drugs, or heat and putting food on the table,” Senator Schumer said in a statement.
“This funding is a lifeline for so many New Yorkers struggling to heat their homes and stay warm this winter,” said Gillibrand, D-NY. “It is crucial for families throughout the state who have braved through recent storms and frigid temperatures to have the resources they need to stay warm throughout the winter. I am pleased to announce this critical funding because no New York family should ever be left in the cold.”
LIHEAP’s mission is to assist low-income households and seniors with their heating and energy costs, especially those who are spending a high percentage of their household’s total income on keeping up with their home energy bills.
New York households whose incomes are 150% of the federal poverty level or less are considered eligible to receive LIHEAP funds. The total household income of the majority of LIHEAP recipients falls well below the threshold set by the federal government.
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have fought to receive more funding for the LIHEAP program. Despite steadily rising heating costs and lingering effects of the Great Recession, the federal LIHEAP fund appropriation declined from $4.7 billion in 2011 to $3.25 billion in 2013 following sequestration.
As part of a nationwide environmental movement to reduce energy usage and fuel consumption, New York residents can also take advantage of professional landscaping services to reduce their heating costs. Properly selected and placed landscaping can provide protection against the elements, which in turn can reduce home energy costs.
Burlington, VT was recently named the first city in the country to use 100% renewable energy to power its residents’ electricity needs. The impressive feat marks a milestone in the growing green energy movement.