Leahy, Sanders, Welch Announce Early Release of $16.9 Million in Heating Assistance for Vermonters
FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who advocated for the early release of federal home heating aid funds as Vermont’s winter approaches, today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services has released $16.9 million in heating assistance for Vermont.
Leahy, Sanders and Welch have long championed funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps struggling Vermonters heat their homes.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: “With temperatures dropping in Vermont, the immediate release of this money is welcome news. Energy assistance is a critical lifeline for countless Vermonters, and we must redouble our efforts to protect this vital safety net program, which is under attack by the Trump Administration.”
President Trump has proposed completely eliminating LIHEAP, which would have more than 20,000 Vermonters in the cold without heating assistance. Leahy, Sanders and Welch have consistently been in the forefront in defending and maintaining funding for the LIHEAP lifeline, and Leahy, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked to maintain funding for LIHEAP during the panel’s consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill enacted in February, and to restore the Trump LIHEAP cuts in the appropriations bill approved by the panel on Sept. 7.
Last heating season, the LIHEAP benefit paid eligible Vermonters an average of $831, covering 50 percent of their fuel costs. This season, it's expected to pay $879, an estimated 53 percent of costs for eligible households. Vermonters seeking home heating assistance should call 1-800-479-6151 or visit the website of the Department of Children and Families here.
David Carle (Leahy): 202-224-3693
Dan McLean (Sanders): 802-862-6695
Kate Hamilton (Welch): 202-440-3340