Sen. Gordon Applauds Increased Heating Assistance for NE CT Households, Cites Need for Sustainable Solution

February 14, 2024

State Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-Woodstock), member of the Appropriations Committee, 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 $3.5 million will provide additional funding for Operation Fuel.


“Although this modest LIHEAP increase is a good start, I hope we can find sustainable solutions. I’m supporting the $17 million boost for the people of northeast Connecticut—especially families and seniors—who still need LIHEAP assistance, or those who may now find themselves in need to heat their homes. This includes people with medical conditions, where the alternative of heating their home is a hospital stay if they get sick because of the cold.


“Last year as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I highlighted that the funding for LIHEAP was inadequate. While the Majority party was relying on more federal money, that did not happen. This current situation was foreseeable and should have been addressed earlier. Now that it’s being addressed in the short-term, I hope to see what more we can do in a sustainable way with our federal partners, so we are not constantly reacting to this situation. We certainly know that more and more people need help because of the high cost of energy in Connecticut. If we can provide help in a responsible and reasonable way, then all the better,” said Sen. Gordon.


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.