Federal home energy assistance programs gets historic funding; Advocates say it may not be enough

As parts of the nation brace for more winter weather, many Americans can’t afford to keep the heat on.

Friday, the White House announced new numbers about its assistance program to help states address home energy costs this winter.

The Biden Administration says its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) historic funding with $8 billion to support communities.

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But some energy groups say that’s still not enough because on average, only about one in five received the energy assistance they need.

The White House says this program received an addition $4.5 billion last year with funding from the American Rescue Plan.

This winter, the administration says at least 14 major utility companies have made commitments to prevent shutting off power for people who are applying for aid along and to expedite assistance.

Some energy nonprofits like the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition believe the funding still isn’t enough for those who really need it.

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The group says this kind funding has been inadequate for years and now there are new challenges impacting this crisis like the increase in extreme weather.

“The need is only growing…the funding is very much welcome and we’re glad to have those resources to address this issue. We don’t expect that things will get better, we think that it’s going to become more difficult, and people are suffering trying to pay those bills this winter,” said Katrina Metzler, executive director for the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition.

The White House says this additional funding will be available through this September.