Monique Lovato
March 24, 2015
For Immediate Release

National low-income coalition asks Congress for $4.7 billion in energy assistance

Washington, DC – National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition Chairman John Rich today urged Congress to commit at least $4.7 billion for 2016 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding. Mr. Rich notes:

“Today, low-income utility assistance advocates from across the country have gathered in Washington to deliver a simple message: Congress must increase LIHEAP funding in fiscal year 2016. Unless Congress takes action to increase LIHEAP funds, we will continue to see four out of five eligible households go un-served due to a lack of funding. This leaves our nation’s most vulnerable, including children, senior citizens, active duty military and veterans, without assistance in the cold winter and hot summer months.”

“LIHEAP is now funded at just two-thirds of the $5.1 billion funding level it received in 2010, while the demand for LIHEAP assistance increases. The President’s $3.39 billion FY 2016 Budget request further constrains LIHEAP’s ability to help Americans in need. To serve more than 20 percent of eligible households, LIHEAP needs at least $4.7 billion,” adds Mr. Rich.

“At $4.7 billion, states can begin to field comprehensive programs that make an impact on a significantly unmet need and states can proactively manage weather extremes, such as last winter in the upper Midwest and this past winter in the Northeast and Southeast. The loss of access to LIHEAP can have a devastating impact on vulnerable households, especially those prioritized by LIHEAP, such as veterans, the elderly, disabled and young children,.” adds NEUAC Executive Director Monique Lovato, who also notes:
“America is experiencing an energy assistance crisis. Since 2010, 1.4 million households annually are losing access to LIHEAP. Unfortunately, the President’s 2016 budget request further erodes this already underfunded program. Although the budget seeks level funding to fiscal year 2015, it also imposes further reductions through new holdbacks and requirements to spend at least 10 percent on other uses.”

More than 35 million U.S. households meet LIHEAP’s federal eligibility criteria. In 2014, 6.7 million households were helped.

Mr. Rich and the NEUAC coalition strongly urge Congress to restore LIHEAP funding to at least $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2016 and to concentrate the funds in the program’s core grants, while rejecting efforts which syphon away resources from its core mission of energy assistance.


About NEUAC: The Coalition is national, broad-based and diverse. Its mission is to heighten awareness of the energy needs of low- and moderate income Americans. NEUAC members are working to reduce the energy burden of vulnerable households through advocacy, policy improvements and partnerships.