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Schumer Announces Additional LIHEAP Funding Passes Senate

NYS Could See An Estimated Increase Of $66 Million, Bringing Its Total To Around $314 Million; State Is Running Low On Funds And Applications For Assistance Are Up

Schumer: Nobody Should Have To Choose Between Putting Food On The Table and Heating Their Home

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that an additional $1 billion of Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding has passed the U.S. Senate. As a result, New York State could see an estimated increase of $66 million, bringing its grand total to approximately $314 million. New York is close to exhausting their program funds for the regular winter heating season and the high energy burden facing lowincome households and cold weather in the state have led to more applications for funding this year.

Families and seniors in New York State need more help from the government to heat their homes, Schumer said. With energy prices skyrocketing, we have to help people pay for their heating costs. More people then ever are qualifying for LIHEAP assistance this winter and beyond, and we need additional funds so everyone who needs help will be able to receive assistance. Nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes. No senior should have to choose between buying necessary medicines and heating their homes.

Schumer has been a leader of a bipartisan push to expand LIHEAP funding in Congress. This winter Schumer led a bipartisan campaign for an additional $2.92 billion for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as part of an emergency spending bill. Schumer joined a coalition of Democratic and Republican Senators urging the Senate Leadership to take immediate action on the emergency designation funding. Recently, Schumer called on the President to release the $101.5 million in LIHEAP funding. Last year Schumer cosponsored a bipartisan Senate measure to provide $2.92 billion for LIHEAP offset by placing a tax on the windfall profits of integrated oil companies.

So far New York State has received approximately $248 million in LIHEAP funds this year. The Energy Information Agency forecasts that households heating with natural gas will experience an average increase of 35 percent over last winter. Households heating with oil will see an increase of 23 percent, and households using propane can expect an increase of 17 percent.

In 2003, 750,000 New Yorkers received LIHEAP funding. These funds help LIHEAP recipients cover the gap between their existing LIHEAP benefit and their projected high heating bills. The New York State Public Service Commission recently reported that gas prices will be 35%45% higher than last year, and that the average consumer in New York uses approximately 90,000 cubic ft of natural gas this winter. While last years the New York average for natural gas price between October and March was $13.15, this years could be $18.42. Funding in the budget reconciliation measure is for the FY07 funding cycle.