LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)

Purpose:

To assist households with low incomes, particularly those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.

Legislative Authority:

Title XXVI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (Public Law 97-35), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 8621 et seq.

Appropriations:

In FY 2021, Block Grant: $3.75 billion, Emergency Contingency: $0.
In FY 2021, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Supplemental: $4.5 billion.
In FY 2020, Block Grant: $3.74 billion, Emergency Contingency: $0.
In FY 2020, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Supplemental: $900 million.

Eligible Applicants:

States, federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations (including Alaska native villages), and territories may apply for direct LIHEAP awards. The states, tribes and territories then provide assistance to households in need. The federal agency does not make awards directly to households. To find your local LIHEAP contact, check here.

Target Population:

Grantees must target benefits to households with low incomes. They may set their own LIHEAP income-eligibility limits; however, they must cap those limits at (1) no more than the greater of 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) or 60 percent of the State Median Income, and (2) no less than 110 percent of FPG. They must also give higher benefits to households with the greatest home energy need in relation to household income and number of household members. Grantees also must target benefits to households with members who are elderly, disabled, and/or a young child.

Uses:

Grantees must provide crisis energy assistance through at least March 15. They have the option to provide home cooling, weatherization, and/or low-cost home energy equipment repairs or replacements. 

Block Grant: Congress authorizes HHS each year to allocate funding based on a formula that takes into consideration low income home energy expenditures among other factors. Home energy is defined as a source of space-heating or space-cooling in residential dwellings. Grantees can use funds for heating and/or cooling costs, as well as up to 15 percent of their funding (or 25 percent with a waiver) for weatherization assistance.

Leveraging Incentive Program: The law allows HHS to award supplemental LIHEAP funding to current grantees that used non-federal resources with their programs in the prior year. No leveraging funding is planned for FY 2021.

Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Program (REACH): The law allows HHS to award supplemental LIHEAP funding for current grantees to receive competitive grants to implement innovative plans to help LIHEAP eligible households reduce their home energy vulnerability. No REACH funding is planned for FY 2021.

Emergency Contingency Funds: If appropriated by Congress, the President may release these funds to assist with the home energy needs arising from an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster. The funds may be allocated to one or more grantees, or to all grantees, based on criteria appropriate to the emergency. Such criteria usually relate to extreme weather conditions or energy price increases. The distribution of funds is based on the degree to which the grantees were impacted by the emergency situation.

Type of Grant:

Block Grant

Program Requirements: 

Each year, all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and about 150 tribes submit an application for funds from this office by September 1. Their applications identify how funds will be distributed to low-income households.

States use their funds to help low-income households in meeting their home energy needs, whether through paying bills in arrears or in danger of disconnection or assisting families in making their homes more energy efficient.

Program Highlights:

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and approximately 150 tribes and tribal organizations receive LIHEAP grants each year. These grantees accept LIHEAP applications from households seeking benefits.

Preliminary FY 2019 data indicate that

  • 50 states and the District of Columbia provided an estimated $1.7 billion for heating assistance.
  • 20 states and the District of Columbia provided an estimated $326 million for cooling assistance.
  • 48 states and the District of Columbia provided an estimated $722 million for crisis assistance.
  • 48 States and the District of Columbia provided an estimated $398 million in assistance for low-cost residential weatherization or other energy-related home repair.
  • An estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating costs through LIHEAP.

 

LIHEAP Contact Info

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services
Phone: (202) 401-9351
LIHEAP Staff Contacts
www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap

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