Congressman Brian Higgins, along with over 90 of his House of Representatives colleagues, sent a letter to Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius urging the Department to immediately release the maximum amount of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funding.
“Families should never have to make the choice between heating their homes, putting food on the table, or purchasing prescription drugs,” said Congressman Higgins. “In Western New York where heat is not an option but a necessity, HEAP provides a critical lifeline for struggling seniors and families.”
In their letter, the Congressmembers cite projections that delays in HEAP funding would result in families across the nation having unmet heating needs. As the colder months begin this October, they suggest that releasing funds now would help many families in need cover increasing energy costs for the winter.
The availability of HEAP funding has been steadily declining since FY 2009. Though national energy costs have stabilized for natural gas and electricity, costs for heating oil – used by over 2 million New Yorkers – remains more costly and subject to greater price volatility.
Congressman Brian Higgins is also a cosponsor of legislation by Rep. Mike Michaud (ME-2). The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Stability Act would protect states, like New York, where more than 25% of households rely on heating oil, from further HEAP funding cuts.