Senator Susan Collins announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released $34,982,669 in funding for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grantees in Maine.
The announcement follows a bipartisan letter authored by Senators Collins and Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, last month urging HHS to release funds for LIHEAP as quickly as possible under the current continuing resolution. Senators Collins and Reed’s letter was signed by a total of 39 bipartisan Senators, including Senator Angus King (I-ME).
“Access to affordable home energy during the cold winter months is a matter of health and safety for many low-income households, children, and seniors in Maine,” said Senator Susan Collins. “The LIHEAP program remains an indispensable lifeline that prevent Mainers from having to make the impossible choice between paying for heat and paying for food or medicine. I have long led bipartisan efforts with Senator Reed to support federal funding for both the LIHEAP program and the Weatherization Assistance Program. I am pleased that HHS moved quickly to release these funds for Maine following our advocacy. With winter quickly approaching, it is critical that our most vulnerable citizens continue to have the resources to stay warm, safe, and healthy.”
In the letter that the Senators sent to HHS in September, they wrote that “[LIHEAP] funding has been an indispensable lifeline during challenging economic times... 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.” Click HERE to read the full text of their letter.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins secured $3.39 billion - level with fiscal year (FY) 2017 - for LIHEAP in the FY18 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year.