Federal funds available for thousands of low-income North Dakota families to help heat their homes

Heitkamp has continued to call for administration release of more funds

Posted 1/31/14

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that North Dakota will receive more than $3.4 million in federal resources to help low-income families, Native American tribes, and seniors heat their homes this winter.

In recent years, this funding has helped well over 13,000 low-income North Dakota households through the winter. Heitkamp has repeatedly called for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration to release this vital support.

This funding is particularly needed as North Dakotans have experienced an especially severe winter, making it even more difficult for struggling families to pay their home heating bills.

At the same time, propane prices in North Dakota have skyrocketed to about $4.60 per gallon, crippling many families who might otherwise be able to afford to keep their homes warm at lower prices. In past years, propane has cost around $2 per gallon or less.

“Our Native American brothers and sisters, as well as families all across North Dakota are feeling the pain of two sharp swords – a particularly brutal winter and sky-high propane prices,” said Heitkamp. “After continuing to call on the Administration to release more home heating assistance for North Dakota families, it’s good news they finally listened.

“No one should have to decide between putting food on the table or heating their homes. Unfortunately, this winter, too many in North Dakota have had to make this choice.

“Hopefully these funds will get to North Dakota soon, and the state will distribute them as quickly as possible. Eligible North Dakotans should remember to apply so they can access this crucial support.”

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding helps families and seniors heat their homes and pay their energy bills. Eligible families outsides Indian reservations, must apply directly to the State of North Dakota to receive LIHEAP funding.

For eligible families living on Indian reservations, their tribes need to directly apply to the State of North Dakota to receive LIHEAP funding, which is then distributed to those on the reservation who qualify.

North Dakotans can learn more about home heating assistance eligibility and apply for assistance by clicking here. To ask questions or to receive help filling out an application, individuals not living on Indian reservations can contact their local County Social Service Office.

Individuals living on Indian reservations can contact their local tribal offices. In November 2013, after Heitkamp and a group of bipartisan Senators sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requesting the release the maximum amount of LIEHAP funds, the Administration distributed 90 percent of the dedicated funds, including $222,900 to North Dakota.

The additional funds announced today will mean the federal government has provided all LIHEAP funds for this winter.

LIHEAP is a block grant program under which the federal government gives annual grants to states, territories, and Indian tribal organizations to operate home energy assistance programs for needy households.

The program receives funding from two sources: contingency funds and regular funds. Contingency funds are allocated to states at the discretion of the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

These funds may be released at any point in the fiscal year to provide additional home energy assistance. Regular funds are allocated in the annual appropriations bill.




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