Senator Snowe Announces
Additional $7.2 Million in
LIHEAP Funding for Maine
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) announced recently that Maine will receive an additional $7.2 million in Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LIHEAP is a federal block grant program that provides states with annual funding to operate home energy assistance programs for seniors and low-income households.
“With heating oil prices 12 percent higher than last year while Maine’s unemployment level remains at 7.4 percent, the LIHEAP program is a critical lifeline for thousands of Mainers to stay warm during the upcoming winter months. Heating is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and LIHEAP, a program that I have supported my entire Congressional career, often serves as the only means to guarantee home heating in tough economic times,” said Senator Snowe.
Due to elevated prices of energy and high unemployment levels, for the last two years Senators Snowe and Jack Reed (D- Rhode Island) have led the effort to secure $5.1 billion annually for LIHEAP to help more than 8.8 million low-income households nationwide, including 63,000 in Maine. However, the funding level for the program this year is unclear as a result of the failure to enact appropriations bills, resulting in an initial allocation 40 percent lower than last year’s levels.
“Given the economic condition of our country and the State of Maine, I believe that we should maintain the current level of a critical program,” said Senator Snowe. “Today’s announcement gets us closer to ensuring the home heating needs of struggling families are met in the cold winter months ahead.”