Senators urging HHS to help protect Colorado families this winter  

Cost of home heating is estimated to increase by 30% 

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), and a group of their colleagues in a bicameral letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the ongoing energy crisis and its effect on families served by the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). 

The cost of home heating is estimated to increase by 30% this winter, which is a level that has not been seen since 2014 and would affect 61 million households that use natural gas for heat. As a consequence of these volatile prices, the purchasing power of appropriated LIHEAP funding could drop by as much as 30%.  

Specifically, the program’s value in available funding could decrease by $1.14 billion from $3.8 billion for regular appropriations and by $1.35 billion from $4.5 billion for stimulus funds. In their letter, Bennet and the lawmakers request information and timeline updates regarding implementation and eligibility for low-income families and funding needs for the HHS to fulfill its obligations. 

“As the world economy recovers from the pandemic, global energy markets are struggling to keep up with a surge in demand and prolonged supply shortages,” wrote Bennet and the lawmakers. “For low-income families, these price increases are unsustainable and will force them to choose between heating their homes and other essentials like rent, food, or medicine. As state agencies and grantees prepare their winter programs, it is crucial that they have strong support from your department to assist low-income households.” 

The letter was also signed by 89 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

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