SCHUMER SECURES $1 BILLION IN CRITICAL EMERGENCY FED HEATING FUNDS IN JUST-PASSED TEMPORARY BUDGET TO KEEP UPSTATE NY-ER’S SAFE & WARM; OVER 700K UPSTATE HOUSEHOLDS HAVE USED THIS PROGRAM IN THE PAST YEAR, SENATOR SAYS HE WILL BE PUSHING FOR BILLIONS MORE IN FINAL BUDGET TO HELP SENIORS & FAMILIES KEEP THE HEAT ON THIS WINTER
More Than 700,000 Upstate NY Households Tapped Fed Home Energy Assistance Program In Past Fiscal Year, BUT With Energy Sector Still Strained By COVID And Supply Chain Issues From Conflict In Ukraine Schumer Says Families And Seniors Need Added Funds To Help Pay Their Bills
Thanks To Schumer’s Advocacy, Struggling Upstate Families Will Continue To Be Able To Tap This Program As Industry Predicts Heating Spikes This Winter – Senator Said Securing More Funding In Final Budget Is Crucial For Helping Struggling Low Income Families Stay Safe In Their Homes This Winter
Schumer: $1 Billion Emergency Boost Will Help Upstate NY Families Weather This Harsh Winter!
After an all-out push for Upstate New York families, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that he has successfully secured $1 billion in the just passed temporary budget bill for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Schumer said when funds ran out of this program it put over 700,000 Upstate residents, seniors and families at risk of being frozen out, but thanks to this emergency infusion low income New Yorkers will have the funds they need to continue to tap this program for heating assistance. Amid predictions of heating spikes this winter due to supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict in Ukraine, Schumer said he is doubling down on his support for LIHEAP and plans to push for billions more to ensure New Yorkers and families across the country will stay safe and warm through the harsh winter months.
“I promised I wouldn’t let struggling Upstate New Yorkers get stuck in the cold, and now after pushing for weeks, I am proud to announce that we have secured $1 billion in emergency funding for the federal heating assistance program to help keep seniors and families safe and warm this winter,” said Senator Schumer. “We all know Upstate winters can be harsh, and in the last year alone, more than 700,000 Upstate households tapped this critical federal program. With supply chains across the globe still rattled by the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, our most vulnerable residents will now not have to worry about bring frozen out because they can’t afford to touch the thermostat.”
Schumer added, “I am not done turning up the heat on the feds though to boost this critical program. My goal is to fund an appropriation of $4 billion in the final budget on top of the $1 billion in emergency spending I just secured for a total of $5 billion.”
According to the most recent statistics from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, over 700,000 households across Upstate New York, and over a million in NYC and Long Island, have tapped the federal Home Energy Assistance Program in the past fiscal year. Schumer broke down the statistics by region below:
- In the Capital Region, approximately 100,091 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In Western New York, approximately 152,376 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the Central New York, approximately 64,920 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the Mohawk Valley, approximately 42,200 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the Finger Lakes, approximately 99,610 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the North Country, approximately 55,274 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the Southern Tier, approximately 79, 609 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
- In the Hudson Valley, approximately 111,635 households received home energy assistance for the FY22.
The mission of the LIHEAP program is to assist households and seniors, particularly those with fixed, lower incomes, who spend a high proportion of their total household income on home energy. The program does this by providing monthly benefits to recipients in the cold winter months, as well as the hot summer seasons. The funding can offset the cost of more efficient heating units in the winter, as well as weatherization. In addition, individuals can receive assistance with their utility bills, which could see serious spikes if energy prices rise during winter months. This help can also cover the costs for bulk fuels, coal, pellets, wood, and other utilities.
Schumer said this program has been a lifeline for thousands of households across New York State during times of economic downturn and, more recently, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the program provides relief for New York families and seniors whose incomes are 60 percent of the State’s Median Income. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, particularly many senior citizens living on a fixed income, benefit from the program each and every year. Schumer said that because most of the federal funds are intended to aid seniors, families with a disabled member, and families with children under the age of six, home heating aid is a significant health issue as well as an economic one. Roughly, 40 percent of households served by the HHS program include an adult aged 60 or over, as well.