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(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today that just in time for the holidays, New Hampshire will get an additional $4.8 million in funding for a critical heating assistance program crucial to keeping the state’s most vulnerable citizens warm this winter. Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor last week to urge Congress and the Obama Administration to provide funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), crucial heating assistance for families and seniors in need.

“The release of today’s LIHEAP funding is crucial for the many families in New Hampshire who are struggling to heat their homes. I’ve heard from many people across the state who, without this help, would have faced the impossible choice of choosing between heat and other necessities such as food or medicine. During this holiday season, what better gift could we provide than to make sure people are warm and safe inside their homes?” Shaheen said. “I am grateful for the swift action of the Obama Administration in responding to my request for more LIHEAP funding with a $4.8 million down payment.  I look forward to more LIHEAP funding being released quickly so that American’s most vulnerable citizens don’t freeze this winter.”

The $4.8 million for New Hampshire is part of more than $845 million in funding that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released to states today.  Last week Congress passed a full-year spending bill including almost $3.5 billion for LIHEAP; the money released today is part of that funding, and supplements the $1.7 billion released to states since October 2011. Including the funds released today, states will have received a total of $2.581 billion in LIHEAP block funds for Fiscal Year 2012.

Shaheen has opposed efforts to cut funding for LIHEAP and last week, she called Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jack Lew to request more LIHEAP funding. The Energy Information Administration projects that the price of heating oil will be 10 percent higher this winter than last, the highest average winter price ever predicted. The average heating-oil household is predicted to spend $193 more this winter than last.