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Take Action: Save LIHEAP!

Energy

Take Action: Save LIHEAP!

Date Posted: 
03/17/2017

LIHEAP Helps Pennsylvania Families Stay Warm and Safe in the Winter!

Families struggling to keep up with their bills must often choose between buying food and heating their homes in the winter.  The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is the only federal program that helps seniors and families who are struggling to pay their energy bills.  LIHEAP also keeps homes safer:  utility shut-offs or empty fuel tanks in the winter create dangerous and potentially life-threatening living conditions.

The President’s proposed budget would eliminate LIHEAP, cutting a lifeline to warm, safe homes for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania families.

Take Action:  Call your U.S. Representative today and ask them to protect LIHEAP!  Tell them that we should build upon the success of this vital program, not eliminate it.  To find your Representative, visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ or call the House switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

LIHEAP helped more than 345,000 Pennsylvania families avoid losing heat last year alone.  Pennsylvania families received LIHEAP grants ranging from $100 to $1,000 to help them make it through the winter warmly and safely.  More than half of these families included people with disabilities, seniors, or very young children.  Without LIHEAP, families would be at greater risk of losing heat or utility service, resulting in unsafe, and sometimes life-threatening, living conditions.

LIHEAP helps families shoulder energy burdens that are often close to five times greater than higher income Pennsylvania families.  Families that are eligible for LIHEAP often must pay 17% of their monthly income on utility bills.  Higher income families pay just 3.6% of their monthly income on utility bills.  LIHEAP helps to alleviate some of the burden for utility customers who are struggling to make ends meet, getting them closer to the affordable energy burdens of higher income utility customers.   Eliminating LIHEAP will make the burden heavier for families in need.

Without heating assistance, reliance on unsafe heating sources will rise, putting families and their communities at risk.  More than 1,500 families lost utility service and were using potentially unsafe heating sources as of December 2016.  Fires caused by unsafe heating sources result in displacement, property damage, injury, and sometimes death.  Without LIHEAP, more people will suffer utility termination and will be forced to resort to unsafe heating sources that put families and neighborhoods at risk.

We should build upon LIHEAP’s successes so that it can reach more people.   Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania families were helped by LIHEAP last year, but another 38,000 families started the winter without utility service or were displaced following utility shut-off.  At least some of these families could have been helped by LIHEAP if extra federal funds were made available to them.  LIHEAP should be expanded, not eliminated, so that all struggling families can make it through the winter safely.

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