PORTLAND, OR – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that that the State of Oregon will receive approximately $44 million to help families who are unable to pay their heating bills during the winter. The funding amount is an estimate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the grant is administered through local Community Action Agencies across the state. The LIHEAP program provides low-income families with assistance paying for energy bills, home weatherization, and energy-related repairs.
“Families shouldn’t have to choose between paying their utility bills and paying for the next meal, but all too often they do,” Merkley said. “This energy program provides critical assistance to Oregon families struggling to pay their monthly heating bills. The program stimulates the economy and helps keep families warm.”
“With temperatures dropping in Oregon and only a third of the way through the winter, this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” Wyden said. “Low-income families have enough to worry about in this difficult economy without having to choose between heating their homes or putting food on their tables.”
Merkley and Wyden joined Senate colleagues in a letter to Senate leadership urging the extension of LIHEAP’s funding at current levels through September 30, 2011. Information on eligibility requirements and how to apply for assistance is available through Oregon Housing and Community Services at http://www.oregon.gov/OHCS/SOS_Low_Income_Energy_Assistance_Oregon.shtml