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Vermont receives additional $2.5M in contingency LIHEAP funding for FY08

MONTPELIER Today, Governor Jim Douglas announced that Vermont received nearly $2.5 million in additional contingency FY2008 funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The news came as the federal government released the remaining $120.7 million in LIHEAP contingency funding for FY2008 to all states. Prior to this latest funding award, Vermont had received roughly $16.9 million in LIHEAP funding in FY2008. This new contingency award brings Vermonts total LIHEAP appropriation in FY2008 to nearly $19.4 million. The release of additional LIHEAP contingency money for this fiscal year shows that the message the Northeastern governors, and our congressional delegations, have brought to our federal partners is resonating, said Governor Jim Douglas. While the $2.5 million awarded to Vermont is a nice down payment, our states low-income working families and seniors on fixed incomes depend on the full funding of this program to help us keep every Vermonter warm this winter. CONEG Governors continue to call on the President and Congress to fully fund LIHEAP at the authorized level of $5.1 billion for this fiscal year to ensure states can meet the needs of low-income families faced with the skyrocketing cost of heating their homes this winter. That will require Congress to appropriate an additional $2.5 billion before they adjourn at the end of the month. Through the Fuel and Food Partnership, the Governor, legislators and community organizations are doing a great deal to meet the needs of the low-income Vermonters who will be most impacted by the high cost of home heating fuel this winter, added Cynthia D. LaWare, the Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. This influx of funds from the federal government could not have come at a better time. It is essential however for the federal government to fully fund the LIHEAP program at the $5.1 billion level to ensure that we best serve Vermonters in need. Thanks to the financial commitments made by Governor Douglas and the Legislature, last year Vermont provided the most generous LIHEAP benefit in the country. Low-income households responsible for heating their homes received an average fuel assistance benefit of $1,362 last winter. But as home heating costs skyrocket, full funding of LIHEAP is critically important.

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