(EAST HAVEN) — Last week, East Haven State Representative Joe Zullo (R-99) joined House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-86) and Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-21) to call for a special session to pass legislation to increase funding for the State’s woefully underfunded “Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program” (LIHEAP) allocation plan.
Zullo explained, “Families all over our State have implored leaders for more financial relief, particularly with skyrocketing home energy costs. Recognizing this, and recognizing the LIHEAP is woefully underfunded in relation to the need across our State, I have joined other leaders in petitioning State leaders to head into a special session to enact legislation redirecting American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase LIHEAP funding.”
On August 29th, members of the State’s “Energy & Technology,” “Human Services,” and “Appropriations” Committees heard testimony from a number of concerned residents and business owners who expressed fears that failing to adequately fund LIHEAP will create an additional financial burden for low-income families this winter. Despite the concern expressed by those who testified, a vote on a Republican amendment to increase funding for energy assistance, primarily for low-income families, was blocked.
“The majority party has, once again, failed to prioritize low-income families in our State,” commented Rep. Zullo. “We expect more applications for LIHEAP this fall, especially as families continue to struggle with record inflation and rising energy prices. We need to be proactive, get into a special session, and put funding in place to maintain this program’s reliability.”
Currently, the Governor’s proposed allocation plan anticipates $79 million in federal funds, which sum represents a 40% decrease from last year alone.
Zullo added, “With winter quickly approaching, we can’t put home heating concerns on the back burner. We are putting families in financial and physical danger. In the absence of meaningful action to shore up this funding, low-income families will be forced to resort to alternative, likely unsafe, home heating methods which could lead to higher utility costs and damaged heating systems.”
Zullo concluded, “I am hopeful legislators from across the aisle will join my colleagues and I to craft a bipartisan solution to this impending home heating crisis. Without immediate and bipartisan intervention, I am fearful families will lack the resources to keep themselves safe and warm throughout the winter months.”
For additional information, visit www.repzullo.com or visit Facebook (@staterepzullo).