The LIHEAP Program (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) has made a huge impact in California to help low income households afford essential utilities. In 2017 there were 207,362 households that benefited form this program. The vast majority of recipient households have at least one "vulnerable" member, which is defined as a person who is either 60 years of age or older, living with a disability, or is 6 years of age or younger. Additionally, 43% of recipients were either at risk of utility disconnection or were able to restore services as a result of LIHEAP assistance. So we know that the benefits are going to people who really need the help. An amazing program like this one should have community and government support, however the President's budget proposal for 2019 completely eliminates funding for the program...
So what's at risk if we lose funding for this program? What kind of people will it affect? It could be your neighbor, or your grandmother who is on a fixed income. For some people, like Paula Yarr, LIHEAP assistance means the difference between having enough to eat and going hungry.
If we lose funding for this program we are taking away services and support for those who need it most. Here's a little more about LIHEAP from LIHEAPHelpsCalifornia.org
LIHEAP is an essential resource for the country’s most under-served populations, including the working poor, those making the difficult transition from welfare to work, disabled persons, elderly and families with young children. LIHEAP is an exceptionally efficient and targeted program, with state block grants flowing to local agencies with specific clients on a short-term basis, providing heating and cooling assistance to roughly 6.7 million households.
LIHEAP was originally conceived to address high heating costs, especially in the Northeast. Congress broadened the program in 1984 and made clear that LIHEAP is needed to help meet the pervasive needs of at-risk American in all regions of the country, as they face the rigors of both cold and hot weather. By leveraging private dollars to supplement federal dollars, LIHEAP has proven that successful relationships can exist between the government, businesses, gas and electric utilities and community-based social service organizations.
Without energy assistance, many low-income households would have to choose between heating and eating or other vital necessities. This is especially true during the peak winter heating and summer cooling seasons, when energy bill can comprise roughly 30 percent of a low-income household’s monthly income, especially in substandard housing. During tough economic times and with home heating and cooling prices on a steady incline, LIHEAP has never been more important for the protection of millions of struggling families.
Learn more about the the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program: www.LIHEAP.org
Click Here to take Action to Save the LIHEAP Program by telling your representative in congress that you value this program and the benefits it presents to your community. If we do nothing, funding for this program could be cut drastically or lost completely.
Do you have a personal story about how the LIHEAP Program helped you? Share it with them by Clicking Here.