THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
President Clinton today directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release $155.65 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) emergency funds to all states to assist low-income households facing continuing, substantial increases in home heating fuel prices.
On September 23, the President directed the release of $400 million in LIHEAP emergency funds to help states prepare to assist low-income households in coping with high fuel prices during the winter. Since then, heating oil and natural gas prices have continued to rise above earlier projections. The Department of Energy now projects that heating oil prices this winter will be 29 percent higher than last winter, and natural gas prices will be 40 percent higher than last winter.
Low-income households are especially burdened by fuel price increases, forcing many families to forego other essential expenses in order to stay warm during the cold months. Today's LIHEAP release will help states continue to meet the needs of these families throughout the winter. In response to the President's urging, many states have adopted higher income eligibility limits in their LIHEAP programs and higher benefit levels in anticipation of greater need for assistance this winter.
Today's release allocates funds to all states, factoring in states' reliance on heating oil, natural gas and propane. The cold weather states of the Northeast and Midwest will receive most of the funds. However, all states will receive some assistance since low-income households throughout the country are affected by fuel price increases. In some areas, electricity prices have risen since electricity generation often is fueled by oil or natural gas.
LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes in the winter and cooling their homes in the summer. In addition to the $400 million release in September, HHS also released this summer a total of $44.35 million to respond to the heat emergency in the South, and to energy emergencies in Alaska and California. Today's release exhausts the LIHEAP emergency funds made available under the FY 2000 Emergency Supplemental Act. The budget agreement passed by Congress last week, and to be signed into law by the President, will bring available LIHEAP funding to a total of $1.7 billion for FY 2001.
The state allocations of today's release follow. Funds are released to state agencies, which then make them available to eligible low-income applicants in their state. These amounts also include funds that will be provided directly to tribes in these states.
STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN OF DECEMBER 18, 2000 LIHEAP ALLOCATIONS
December 18 State Allocation
Alabama $ 1,260,378
New Hampshire 1,248,591
New Jersey 6,577,800
New Mexico 829,260
New York 21,342,766
North Carolina 2,578,299
North Dakota 1,180,188
Rhode Island 1,166,317
South Carolina 935,903
South Dakota 992,900
West Virginia 1,269,788