Sen. Aubertine Applauds Plan to Increase LIHEAP Funds

Submitted article

State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine today applauded Congress for passing legislation to increase LIHEAP funding that will help many households throughout Central and Northern New York to pay their heating bills this winter.

“We needed Congress to come through with this funding,” Sen. Aubertine said. “They clearly heard our calls for more funding in the face of record high fuel prices this winter. This additional revenue will allow us to expand the benefits for thousands of people throughout Central and Northern New York.”

Congress on Thursday night approved $5.1 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program appropriations. Almost 10 percent, or $490 million, of that funding is earmarked for New York State. This marks a 37 percent increase over last year’s allocation of $357 million from Congress. In addition, the State recently received supplemental funding from the federal Department of Health and Human Services for this program.

“My colleagues and I called on Congress to step up back in August,” Sen. Aubertine said. “I’m glad to see that this funding, which could potentially save lives this winter, will soon be available. As we move forward, I will continue to advocate for a more comprehensive plan to help people pay their home heating expenses, but this is a tremendous short term fix to help many individuals and families make ends meet this winter.”

Yesterday’s agreement will allow New York to increase LIHEAP benefits to an average of over $600 for low-income families making up to $45,000 per year. It will also provide additional funding for emergency grants and home weatherization improvements for seniors and people with disabilities, in addition to low-income families.