U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday, Jan. 12, the release of $27,864,464 to Maine to help low income citizens in the coming weeks with their heating bills. These funds represent grants to states, tribes and territories under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“The release of these funds will assist those in Maine who may not be in the position to afford heating costs during these cold winter months,” Sebelius said. “More low-income families will now have the chance to use their income for other necessities.” 

LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes in the winter and cooling their homes in the summer. U.S. Health and Human Services is releasing such a large allocation of LIHEAP funds now in order to ensure that states have resources available to support their energy assistance programs as the weather turns colder and the nation faces high unemployment rates.

“LIHEAP helps more than six million low-income households deal with energy costs,” said Carmen R. Nazario, assistant secretary for children and families. “We will continue to work with Maine to assure their heating assistance programs work effectively.”

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency, MaineHousing, about its Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) that provides low interest rate loans of up to $30,000 to low- and moderate-income homeowners to finance a wide variety of energy-related improvements to their homes.

For program details and a list of HELP lenders visit mainehousing.org or call 1-877-544-3271. Many projects funded through this program save more money through the improvements then the loan payments they have to make.

For more information about LIHEAP go to acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/ or acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure/brochure.html.