As temperatures drop, so will the heating costs of millions of American families. The Biden Administration announced $4.5 Billion to help lower the cost of heating homes this winter. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds will go to states, territories, and tribes. Department of Health and Human Services agencies will distribute the funds. In addition to lowering utility bills, the LIHEAP funds can cover unpaid utility bills and cost-effective home energy repairs.
Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, says the LIHEAP funds have helped low-income families pay for heating costs for more than 40 years.
“As heating costs increase, it is more important than ever to help families struggling to make ends meet. With this funding, we will help protect the health and well-being of Americans by keeping them safe and warm this winter.”Xavier Becerra, Health & Human Services Secretary
In 2021, LIHEAP funds helped more than 5.3 million households with heating costs, cooling bills, and weatherizing properties. The funding announcement comes when households are paying more for everything due to record inflation. NPR reports US electricity rates are the highest in 41 years. Prices have jumped 15.8% in the last year, due to high-priced natural gas, which generates nearly 40% of America’s power. HHS says The Biden Administration is committed to lowering energy costs for American families, especially as winter approaches and Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to pressure the global energy market.
The National Energy Assistance Director’s Association estimates the average family will pay $1,202 in heating costs this winter. According to the NEADA, that estimate is up 17% from 2021. The estimates are worse for homes that rely on natural gas for warmth. Those heating costs could rise as much as 34% this year. Moreover, NEADA estimates more than 20 million households are behind on utility bills.
How do I apply for LIHEAP Funds for heating costs?
The need is obvious and again millions of LIHEAP funds are available to cover heating costs. Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance can visit energyhelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline toll-free at: 1-866-674-6327. Finally, this is a good time to discuss Heating Safety residents on your property.