FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Sen. Martin Applauds Increased Heating Assistance for CT Households

February 15, 2024
February 14, 2024
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Hannah Lemek
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Sen. Martin Applauds Increased Heating Assistance for CT Households

HARTFORD, CT- Today, Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol) issued a statement on the legislature’s bipartisan emergency extension of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding today. The measure will allocate $13.5 million in state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program, which funds LIHEAP. Another allocation of $3.5 million will provide additional funding for Operation Fuel.
“I am pleased to see the limited emergency extension of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) pass today. The Senate Republicans have been advocating for the appropriate funding of these crucial home heating assistance programs, and today is a step in the right direction,” Senator Martin continued. “With the allocation of $13.5 million in state ARPA funds to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program and an additional $3.5 million for Operation Fuel, we are making progress in ensuring that low-income individuals and families have access to the energy resources they so desperately need. We must continue working together to address the energy challenges faced by our most vulnerable communities.”
Background on Senate Republicans’ efforts to fully bolster LIHEAP:
  • In 2022, Congress only approved $86.4 million in LIHEAP assistance for Connecticut, a 32 percent reduction from 2021’s level of assistance.
  • At the same time, demand rose with applications up 17.4 percent from the same point in 2021 with rising home heating prices.
  • In response, the Governor’s administration significantly reduced the maximum and minimum benefit levels.
  • Although the legislature acted in 2022, funding still fell short of flat funding and the drastically reduced benefit levels remained unchanged.
  • Senate and House Republican legislators in Connecticut in 2022 proposed increasing LIHEAP funds by an additional $112.3 million to accommodate increased demand and expand benefits to more working- and middle-class families expected to struggle to heat their homes. The Republican plan utilized $112.3 million from the Invest Connecticut account; a fund set aside by the Fiscal Year 2023 budget adjustment with readily available federal ARPA funds yet to be assigned to any programming.
  • Today’s emergency-certified bill increases LIHEAP funding by $13.5 million and Operation Fuel by $3.5 million. As of Jan. 13, it is estimated that half of the current 65,000 program participants have already exhausted all their program benefits. Therefore, this funding will fall short of making all households whole through the maximum benefit, leaving roughly half behind.