Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the release of $343 million in heating and home energy assistance funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The two Senators had joined a bipartisan group of 46 Senators in urging HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to release Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding as quickly as possible, to ensure more families can access the resources they need to heat their homes this winter.
Without these federal resources, households nationwide may have been subject to cuts in federal heating aid during this year’s winter months. Now, New York State is set to receive over $343 million as part of initial LIHEAP funding provided under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution of 2015. New York State has received over $300 million in LIHEAP funding each fiscal year for the last seven years.
“No one should ever have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes. With winter’s cold and high energy prices right around the corner, families and seniors across Upstate New York need help paying their heating costs,” said Senator Schumer. “This massive infusion of federal funding right to the pockets of New Yorkers who need it most will provide critical relief to those residents facing the tough choice between food and heat this winter season. This funding will help keep more than a million New Yorkers out of the freezing cold this winter, and I will always fight for as much support as possible for this vital program.”
“This necessary funding will help keep more than a million New Yorkers warm this winter,” said Senator Gillibrand. “No family in our state should ever be left behind and literally in the cold in their home. I commend Secretary Burwell for responding quickly and making this funding a top priority.”
LIHEAP is the main federal program that helps low-income households and seniors with their energy bills, providing vital assistance during both the cold winter and hot summer months. Even though the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance, this funding has been a lifeline during the economic downturn and rising energy costs, helping to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine. New York State is the largest beneficiary of LIHEAP funds in the nation and more than 1 million New Yorkers rely on LIHEAP to heat their homes during the winter.
Along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, the letter to HHS Secretary Burwell was signed by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Walsh (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).