February 24, 2015

Markey, Warren Push Obama Admin. to Release Home Heating Fund

Thousands of Massachusetts families have exhausted LIHEAP funds during brutal winter

WASHINGTON, D.C - Massachusetts Democratic Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren today asked the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to release the remaining $34 million in low-income energy assistance funds to help families in Massachusetts and around the nation who need help heating their homes during a brutal stretch of winter. Tens of thousands of Massachusetts families have exhausted their funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) during a historically harsh winter. The Senators also ask HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to consider using her authority to make additional funds available for the program.

"Families in our state are facing a dangerous heating crisis. For low-income families, home heating bills are piling up as fast as the snow, with no relief in sight," write Senators Markey and Warren. "We urge you to release the roughly $34 million in remaining LIHEAP funds to the states immediately, and consider using the authority provided to you under law to provide additional funding for this vital program."

The full letter can be found HERE.

Releasing the additional $34 million in LIHEAP funds could provide more than $1 million more for Massachusetts families. Massachusetts families have already received nearly $145 million in LIHEAP funds this year, but a cold and snowy winter has led to funds being exhausted. HHS recently released $13 million to Massachusetts in late January.

The Senators also note that Secretary Burwell has the authority under the appropriations bill that passed in December of last year to move up to $100 million from other programs into LIHEAP, which could provide an additional $5.5 million for Massachusetts.

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