By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,699)
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D), said in a press release issued yesterday, that the federal government is releasing the state’s remaining funding for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) this week. The funding released yesterday – $5.4 M – is on top of $33.7 M released in early November. The federal funding is set up so states can access the majority of their allocation early in the heating season.
“This has been one of the coldest winters in memory and for families struggling to get by paying for heat has been particularly challenging,” Pingree said. “LIHEAP helps but the sad truth is the average benefit isn’t enough for even a tankful of heating oil, which is why Congress has got to do a better job funding this program.”
Maine authorities expect to serve 50,000 households using the LIHEAP program, with an average benefit of $562. As of last week, $16.5 M of Maine’s LIHEAP money had been distributed to 27,000 households.
Pingree has been a vocal advocate for increased funding for LIHEAP and last week joined colleagues in the House to ask President Obama to increase funding for LIHEAP in next year’s budget.