Federal award: $46.4M to help Oregon’s low-income pay heating costs

Oregon will receive $48.4 million in funding to help
low-income families and individuals pay for home heating costs this winter and
cover unpaid utility bills.

The funding will be delivered through the Low Income Home
Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), and includes support from the Bipartisan
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and extra funding passed by Congress to
address rising energy costs in 2023.

In addition to covering home heating costs and unpaid
utility bills, the funds awarded to Oregon will help families make
cost-effective home energy repairs to lower their heating and cooling bills.

“Keeping homes warm in the winter is essential to the
well-being of Oregonians,” Oregon U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici
said. “Many prices have increased and so has financial pressure for many
families and individuals. I am grateful that Oregon will receive extra funding
to help low-income households cover energy costs. No one should have to choose
between paying their utility bill and other necessities like food or

“It is unconscionable that families should be forced to
ration their essential utilities, especially during seasons of extreme heat or
cold,” Oregon U. S. Congressman Peter DeFazio said. “This funding,
made possible in part by my bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,
will help Oregon families mitigate rising costs and ensure their homes and
families are protected this winter.”

“Low-income energy and heating assistance funding is
vital for thousands of Oregonians,” Oregon U.S. Congressman Earl
Blumenauer said. “The Biden Administration understands this. For people
who are struggling with higher prices for gas and groceries, having extra help
with winter heating bills this year is crucial. I appreciate the timely
delivery of these funds so that families can keep their lights on and homes
warm this winter.”

“With snow already having fallen here in parts of
Oregon and a cold snap in the forecast, this extra help for vulnerable
Oregonians to cover home heating costs is timely and important,” Oregon
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said. “I’m gratified our state has secured this
assistance for Oregonians walking an economic tightrope. And I’ll keep battling
to provide all the assistance that low-income Oregon households need to stay
safe this winter throughout our state.”

“As so many Oregonians face rising costs for basic
goods and tighter household budgets, it’s critical that we ensure everyone is
able to keep their heating on this winter,” Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff
Merkley said. “This crucial federal funding for energy and heating
assistance will help give households across Oregon the financial support they
need to stay warm and safe in the cold months ahead.”

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance can
visit energyhelp.us or call the
National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline toll-free at: 1-866-674-6327.

A fact sheet about 2023 LIHEAP funds for Oregon from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can be found at https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/search-tool/

Throughout the pandemic, Bonamici said she led her
colleagues in efforts to strengthen LIHEAP to prevent debts from piling up
during the public health crisis. Bonamici also serves as Chair of the Civil
Rights and Human Services Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over LIHEAP.