SHAHEEN CALLS FOR MORE LIHEAP FUNDING

by Christian Mower on November 2, 2011

U.S. SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN OF NEW HAMPSHIRE IS CALLING ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO RELEASE MORE FEDERAL MONEY TO HELP POOR PEOPLE HEAT THEIR HOMES.

SHAHEEN SAYS THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ANNOUNCED LATE LAST WEEK IT WOULD RELEASE ONLY $1.7 BILLION NATIONALLY FOR THE LOW INCOME HOME HEATING PROGRAM – OR LIHEAP.

THAT MEANS NEW HAMPSHIRE IS EXPECTED TO GET LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT IT GOT LAST YEAR, WHEN MORE THAN 45,000  HOUSEHOLDS IN THE STATE RELIED ON THE PROGRAM FOR HELP.

THE SENATOR EXPECTS NEW HAMPSHIRE TO GET JUST UNDER $15 MILLION FROM THE LATEST ANNOUNCED RELEASE – LAST YEAR THE STATE GOT SLIGHTLY MORE THAN $34 MILLION.

SHAHEEN SAYS THE SMALLER AMOUNT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, GIVEN THE RECORD PRICE OF HEATING OIL AND THE EARLY ARRIVAL OF COLD, SNOWY WEATHER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THE NORTHEAST.

SHAHEEN HAS OPPOSED EFFORTS TO CUT LIHEAP FUNDING AND SHE’S JOINING OTHER SENATORS IN CALLING FOR THE QUICK RELEASE OF MORE MONEY FOR THE PROGRAM. LAST YEAR THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDED A TOTAL OF $4.5 BILLION FOR THE PROGRAM ACROSS THE U.S., DOWN FROM $5 BILLION THE YEAR BEFORE.