Celebrating 40 Years of LIHEAP 1981-2021

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The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was created in 1981 in response to rising energy prices that left many Americans without the necessary utilities to heat or cool their homes. The impact of these price increases on the poor was rippling and severely disproportionate to the ability to pay for vulnerable households, including the elderly, disabled, and families with young children; all particularly susceptible to unsafe indoor temperatures in the home.

Today, 40 years later, LIHEAP remains the largest energy assistance program available to low-income households in the United States. Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Community Services within the Administration for Children and Families, LIHEAP helps pay utility bills, avert energy crisis, and increase the energy efficiency of homes through weatherization.

Help us celebrate by submitting a Time Capsule entry

In honor of the 40th anniversary of LIHEAP, NEUAC is gathering “snapshots” from LIHEAP 2021 to place in a time capsule, to be sealed on August 13, 2021, the official date Congress enacted LIHEAP as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (P.L. 97-35). Energy stability was improved from this day forward for economically distressed households suffering from energy insecurity.

We are asking our members and other energy affordability stakeholders to submit any of the following for possible inclusion:

  • Describe the past year to your future self in 10 years, or to the person who is doing the job you are doing now in 10 years.
  • Tell a story about a (anonymous) client you’ve served in the past year, or ask your clients to submit their own stories (also may be included in 40 stories for 40 Years of LIHEAP).
  • A photo of your staff and their working environment that shows what it was like to serve people in 2021, or a photo of an event for your organization.
  • A video, brochure, or other materials that demonstrates your utility’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, or the ways the utility supported its community.
  • A photo that demonstrates working life in the utility assistance network in 2021.
  • Make a prediction about changes to LIHEAP you expect in 10 years – what will the total funding be? What program changes do you anticipate?
  • Anything else that documents what it is like in 2021 to be in need of utility assistance, or helping those who are struggling with energy poverty.

Help us celebrate with 40 Stories for 40 Years

Please send us your story about LIHEAP to celebrate 40 years!

Suggestions and help for telling your story:

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists families with energy costs. This help can be invaluable and even life-saving, especially during summer and winter crisis seasons. We want to know:

  • Has LIHEAP helped your family keep the lights and heat turned on?
  • Did you ever have to choose between paying your utility bill and other important resources, like food or medicine?
  • Have you been forced to take drastic measures during the hot or cold seasons to keep your home temperate?
  • How did LIHEAP, fuel funds or other resources help your family?

If you are willing to share your story, NEUAC may share it on our website, social media and with others in order to bring awareness to the effects of energy poverty and the benefits of energy assistance programs and most importantly, to celebrate LIHEAP’s 40th birthday!

  • Any year in LIHEAP’s history is fair game.

Help us celebrate on LIHEAP’s Birthday, August 13th

On August 13, 2021, celebrate the official “birthday” of LIHEAP with us. A social media campaign will be made available to “tweet storm” on social media and spread awareness of the good work LIHEAP has produced in these past 40 years, with highlights on the past year of service during the pandemic. On this day, the time capsule will be officially “sealed” until August 13, 2031, when it will be re-opened and shared to celebrate the progress made in one decade during the 50th anniversary of LIHEAP. Join us in acknowledging this important milestone and celebrating 40 years of helping people through LIHEAP!