NEW JERSEY – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today were joined by members of the NJ Congressional Delegation including U.S. House Representatives Donald Norcross (D-N.J.-01), Andy Kim (D-N.J.-03), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.-06), Rob Menendez (D-N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.-09), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12) in announcing a total of $35,196,880 in additional federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help residents across the state pay for home energy costs this winter.
Funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is provided by the federal government and administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), will help low-income individuals and families pay for home heating costs and cover unpaid utility bills. The latest funding announcement brings the total amount of federal dollars directed to the state to $188,504,899 this fiscal year.
“As working families continue to face the economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Putin’s illegal and unprovoked war in Ukraine, too many are having to make impossible choices when it comes to their expenses for basic needs including the cost of heating their homes,” Menendez said. “This funding will help New Jerseyans stay warm for the rest of this winter without having to make the difficult decision between paying their energy bills or buying food, medicine and other necessities.”
“All New Jerseyans should be able to keep their homes warm without having to choose between paying their home energy bills or other essentials, like food or medicine,” Booker said. “I advocated for the quick release of remaining LIHEAP funding, and I’m grateful to see this latest allocation, which will help low-income families and seniors across our state keep the heat on this winter.”
Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP. In 2020, 219,755 households across New Jersey benefited from LIHEAP.
“This LIHEAP funding will lower energy costs for South Jersey families in need. Low-income households and seniors on fixed incomes will have the support they need to stay warm this winter,” Norcross said. “I’m proud to have supported this funding and will continue to champion policies that promote the wellbeing of South Jersey families.”
“In the richest, most powerful country in history, no family should ever have to go through a single winter worried they might not be able to afford their heating bill. This release of funding delivers so many New Jersey families and seniors the direct assistance they need to cover high energy costs and still be able to afford food, medicine, and other essential needs,” Kim said. “I will continue to support and fund programs like LIHEAP that work to lower everyday costs for working families across New Jersey.”
“We need to do everything we can to make life more affordable for Jersey families, including helping lower the cost of energy,” Gottheimer said. “We’re clawing this federal investment back to Jersey to get critical assistance to families and residents to help heat their homes.”
“Because Americans are financially squeezed in so many directions, the top priority for the Biden administration and our Democratic Congress remains helping regular Americans and their families pay their bills and live in comfort,” Pascrell said. “Not a single Garden Stater should have to decide whether to have a warm house or a warm meal in their stomach; they must have both. This large $35,000,000 award will let our neighbors live in better security as winter winds down. Helping Americans meet the burdens of daily life is the most important work government can do.”
“LIHEAP is a lifeline for many working families and seniors in the 8th District – keeping them safe and warm at a time when climate change is inducing irregular and extreme weather patterns,” Menendez said. “I commend the Biden Administration for supporting families and seniors in our district and working tirelessly to help with the affordability challenges so many of our residents are facing.”
“I am extremely proud to have secured more than $35 million to help low-income families in New Jersey pay for heat or energy repairs during the harsh winter months,” Payne, Jr. said. “This funding will provide resources for these families to save money for food and medicine. No American should have to make the choice between heat and other necessities.”
“Due to energy market disruptions caused by Putin’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, New Jersey families and seniors are scrambling to figure out how they will afford their home energy bills,” Sherrill said. “I am proud to help deliver this LIHEAP funding to New Jersey, which will be crucial for protecting the health and well-being of families across the state. I am committed to bringing fast, direct assistance to help New Jerseyans lower their energy costs.”
“As families continue to struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and as extreme weather becomes more common due to the ongoing climate crisis, it’s crucial that working families have the resources to adapt,” Coleman said. “New Jersey families and seniors are able to use these LIHEAP investments to lower the costs of staying warm this winter, cover utilities and pay for energy repairs.”
In total, the Biden Administration announced $4.5 billion in LIHEAP funding nationwide. The funding includes an additional $1 billion for LIHEAP that Congress appropriated in the most recent funding bill, as well as an additional $100 million Sens. Menendez and Booker secured in the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law last year.
LIHEAP is administered by states and accessed through local Community Action Agencies. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.
New Jersey residents needing assistance with their energy bills can get more information and learn if they qualify by visiting the state’s website at: www.nj211.org/utility-assistance-programs.