Impact of Heat Wave Made Much Worse by Lack of Home Energy
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ — As record temperatures
continued to batter the country, advocates for home energy assistance to
the poor called on the White House and Congress today to demonstrate a
commitment to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP LIHEAP Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program ) program.
Specifically, the National Fuel Funds Network, American Gas Association,
and the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association each sent
letters to the President calling on the White House to immediately
release the remaining contingency funds set aside for emergency
purposes, and for Congress to fully fund the program in the 2007 fiscal
Congressional Appropriators have proposed $2.1 billion in LIHEAP
funding for the FY 2007 fiscal year, failing to match the $3.1 billion
invested in LIHEAP in FY 2006 in response to increased energy prices.
The failure to match FY 2006 spending levels may eliminate LIHEAP
support to as many as 900,000 households currently receiving assistance.
Despite repeated examples of the danger that low-income and elderly
citizens face in times of excessive heat or cold, the LIHEAP program
continues to be funded at less than half of its authorized $5.1 billion.
“This record-breaking heat wave is a sad reminder of
policymakers’ failure to recognize the importance of fully funding
the LIHEAP program,” said Campaign for Home Energy Assistance
director Michael Bracy. “LIHEAP is a critical lifeline for our
poorest citizens, yet Congress and the Administration have repeatedly
failed to fully support the program. Tragically, this heat wave once
again demonstrates that if policymakers fail to acknowledge the need, it
is our most desperately poor and elderly neighbors who will face the
horrific reality of dealing with unbearable heat without the basic
protections of air conditioning air conditioning,