Reed Announces Initial $22.4 Million for RI Winter Heating Assistance


Households in need are encouraged to sign up early for LIHEAP to ensure they receive assistance

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Trump Administration is releasing $22,412,085 through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Rhode Island families and seniors keep warm this winter.

“We’re starting to feel the first of winter’s frost and this LIHEAP money will be a lifesaver for many. It helps vulnerable families keep the heat on in the dead of winter, and it helps them stretch their budgets so they can afford medicine, food, and other essentials. It is critical to get LIHEAP funding out the door so states like Rhode Island can prepare for the upcoming winter,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the leading Congressional champion of the LIHEAP program.

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration sought to eliminate LIHEAP from the budget. Senator Reed, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), led the bipartisan effort to prevent those cuts and successfully secured $3.39 billion for LIHEAP in the FY18 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In September, Reed and Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by 37 of their colleagues urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release funds for LIHEAP as quickly and at as high a level as possible under the current continuing resolution.

LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills. The program is available to help Rhode Islanders who need assistance in meeting the increasing cost of home energy and/or reducing the severity of an energy-related crisis. Rhode Island’s LIHEAP is administered by the Department of Human Services, and about 35,000 Rhode Islanders received assistance through the program last year.

Rhode Islanders wishing to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program may go to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services website to get more information and links to an online application. Or, Rhode Islanders may contact their local Community Action Agency.

Rhode Island has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation and Senator Reed has led efforts to help Rhode Islanders improve energy efficiency and weatherize homes to reduce high household energy bills.

The average annual LIHEAP benefit to Rhode Island households that use the program is in the range of about $820-$850, according to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states are receiving approximately 90% of their full year allocations under the FY 2018 Continuing Resolution. This level gives states certainty to plan for their upcoming heating season while allowing Congress flexibility in setting a final funding level for the program when it wraps up work on the appropriations process for this fiscal year.

Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources. Households in need are encouraged to sign up early for LIHEAP to ensure they receive assistance.