October 16, 2019

Gillibrand Calls On Trump Administration to Immediately Release Critical Home Heating Funding For Low-Income Seniors and Families At Highest Level Possible

More than 1.5 Million Vulnerable New Yorkers Rely on LIHEAP Program to Keep the Heat On and Stay Warm in the Winter; Gillibrand Successfully Fought for Increase in LIHEAP Funding

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called on the Trump Administration to immediately release critical Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to provide heating assistance to some of the most vulnerable seniors and families across New York. More than 1.5 million low-income New Yorkers and seniors on a fixed income depend on the LIHEAP program to help pay their energy bills. Gillibrand joined a bipartisan push today to urge the Trump Administration to act swiftly to make this funding available without further delay at the highest possible level.

“No New Yorker should have to choose between paying for heat and paying for essentials like food or medicine, but that’s exactly what the Trump Administration will force some of our most vulnerable seniors and families to do if it doesn’t release critical LIHEAP funding,” said Senator Gillibrand. “With the cold New York winter months quickly approaching, I’m calling on the Trump Administration to make LIHEAP funding available immediately and at the highest possible level.”  

As part of her push, Gillibrand joined Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar, II to request release of LIHEAP funding as quickly as possible.  

The full text of the letter may be found below:

The Honorable Alex M. Azar, II      
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
330 C St SW
Washington, D.C. 20416

Dear Secretary Azar:

As state agencies prepare their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) programs for the winter, we respectfully request that the Department of Health and Human Services release LIHEAP funds as quickly and at as high of a level as possible under the current continuing resolution.

LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing critical assistance during the cold winter and hot summer months. This funding has been an indispensable lifeline during challenging economic times, helping to ensure that recipients do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for other necessities like food or medicine.  On average, low-income families and seniors spend a higher proportion of their income on energy, and for many states, October marks the start of the heating season, creating an additional constraint on these household budgets.

As states begin to provide assistance for this winter, it is critical that they have the resources to assist low-income households and seniors as soon as possible.  Therefore, we request that you quickly release LIHEAP funds and at as high of a level as possible in order to allow states and low-income households to prepare for the upcoming season. 

We look forward to continuing to work with you on this critical program, and thank you for your attention to our concerns and those of our constituents.

Sincerely,