CHARLESTON, WV -- A program that provides utility assistance to low-income West Virginia families will see an increase in funding.
The federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps families pay heating and cooling bills, manage costs related to energy crises and weatherize their homes. At the state level, the program is administered by the state Department of Health and Human Resource's Division of Family Assistance.
West Virginia's members of Congress have supported LIHEAP funds in the past, and Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., and Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted in favor of the new appropriation, which will allocate nearly $3.9 million to the state's program.
"As Americans still face an anemic economy, many West Virginians are doing their best to make ends meet, but sometimes it's harder to balance the checkbooks at the end of the month, especially at a time when our energy costs remain unforgivingly high," Manchin said.
"I am pleased that this funding will help eligible West Virginians keep their homes warmer this winter and cooler during the summer."
West Virginians have dealt with record-setting low temperatures this winter as at least two arctic streams have affected the area. Rockefeller said these frigid temperatures highlight the importance of staying warm.
"When our winters are especially tough like this year, we are reminded of the importance of a warm home," Manchin said. "Unfortunately, this comfort can run up West Virginians' electricity bills, forcing some families to choose between keeping their kids warm or putting food on the table.
"This funding is well-timed and critically important relief for those families most in need this winter."