Washington, D.C. –The American Gas Association (AGA) today brought together citizens from across the country to call for greater support of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). AGA joined the National Fuel Funds Network and the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association in sponsoring LIHEAP Action Day, a day of activities aimed at building awareness about LIHEAP, including a press conference on Capitol Hill, to urge Members of Congress to fully fund this critical program.
“Our nation faces a significant economic challenge, but now is not the time to shortchange millions of American households that depend on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to stay warm,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “We are calling for $5.1 Billion for LIHEAP. We must find a way to balance our budget and reduce our deficit without cutting programs for those who need them most.”
AGA expressed disappointment on Monday that the Obama administration is proposing only $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the FY2013 budget, a move McCurdy said, “will leave some of our citizens out in the cold.”
LIHEAP is a block grant program under which the federal government gives states annual funds to operate home energy assistance programs for low‐income households that struggle to heat their homes in the winter and cool them during the hot summer months. After many years of underfunding LIHEAP, Congress funded the program at $5.1 billion in FY2009 and FY2010. Unfortunately, since then, funding for LIHEAP has been cut drastically – to $4.7 billion in FY2011 and less than $3.5 billion in FY2012. As a result of the economic downtown and the increase in poverty and unemployment, the number of low-income households eligible for LIHEAP in 2012 will continue to climb.