WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is distributing an additional $4.5 billion in funds to help low-income Americans cover heating costs during a second pandemic winter, with cold-weather states receiving the largest share, according to a state-by-state breakdown released Friday.
The funding boost — part of last year’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan coronavirus relief package — more than doubled the normal funding level of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. These funds represent the largest appropriation in a single year since the program was established in 1981.
The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the state allocation breakdown, which shows a clear prioritization of cold-weather states with higher heating costs. For example, Minnesota received nearly $274 million in home energy assistance for needy residents. Meanwhile, Texas, which has a population five times larger, received just $10 million more. New York state, with a population of less than 20 million people compared with Texas’ 29 million, received just under $876 million.