Vermont officials announce historic levels of federal home heating assistance funding
Vermont officials welcome the news that the state will receive more funding than ever for LIHEAP – the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program – this winter.
The Vermont governor and congressional delegation gathered in Montpelier on Thursday to announce that this year’s heating support allocation will more than double. Republican Governor Phil Scott says federal LIHEAP funding has been increased significantly, resulting in an unprecedented investment in the state program.
“This year, Vermont is receiving an additional $ 28.3 million on top of the $ 20.7 million we normally see in our block grant, for a total of $ 49 million for LIHEAP. With this increase, we are ensuring that eligible families have warm homes this winter, “said Governor Scott.” These extra dollars will allow us to do a number of things to help the vulnerable. For example, we will be able to increase the fuel economy and allocate more money to weather services. These LIHEAP government funds come at a good time when we go into winter because we don’t want to leave anyone behind. “
The independent Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, calls it a moral obligation to make sure no one can go without heating in winter.
“In the American Rescue Plan Act, we increased LIHEAP funding by over 50 percent. And that means, as the governor has just indicated, that we now have the opportunity in this state to ensure that many more people receive the services they need and are entitled to. “
U.S. Senate chairman for grants Patrick Leahy urged Vermonter who needed help to apply for the funds.
“Last year, 39,000 Vermont households received a combined $ 19 million in heating bills, and now we can support even more. In addition to keeping your home warm, replace old fuel tanks, weatherproof your home so it stays less warm. “Leahy adds,” Nobody should have to choose between heating their home or putting food on the table. We know fuel prices are rising, but LIHEAP can help. “
Democratic Congressman Peter Welch says there is an urgent need to provide heating assistance to vulnerable households facing a precarious economy.
“People who have no control over energy prices and who have no control over how cold it gets, these people need to stay warm.”
BROC Community Action serves Bennington and Rutland counties and is part of the Vermont Community Action Partnership. CEO Tom Donahue says the additional funding will help meet long-term needs and it is important that people know the funds are available.
“The Farmer’s Almanac says it’s going to be a really long, cold winter. So the most important thing is to get the word out to make sure people aren’t hesitant to apply.We are ready to help, but we need to make that connection with Vermonters in need and we don’t want them to hesitate to contact to turn to us when they are in need, for these are vital resources. “
The Ministry of Children and Families administers the LIHEAP program.