Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

February 14, 2024

Senator Gaston Votes To Approve $17M To Extend Heating Assistance Programs

Today, state Senator Herron Keyon Gaston (D-Bridgeport), joined the Senate’s unanimous vote to approve $17 million to supplement dwindling federal funding for heating assistance for Connecticut residents through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Operation Fuel. There are over 70,000 households currently enrolled in these programs, and as of the end of January 2024, over 15,400 fuel delivery households have exhausted their LIHEAP benefits.

“Heating assistance programs promote social equity by providing support to those who are most in need,” said Sen Gaston. “So many people in Bridgeport and Stratford rely on these programs to make sure they stay warm during the winter. I am proud to stand by my colleagues as we vote to extend heating programs that will help give folks the opportunity to live in a safe and comfortable home during the cold winter months.”

The $17 million will be allocated from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. $13.5 million will go to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) and distributes federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. An additional $3.5 million will go to the non-profit Operation Fuel for home fuel delivery.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families warm through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance to reduce the costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization, and minor energy-related home repairs. Operation Fuel is a Hartford-based nonprofit that provides year-round emergency energy assistance to low- to moderate-income households across Connecticut in collaboration with a statewide network of local fuel banks.

While LIHEAP is traditionally fully funded by the federal government, funds were increased significantly during fiscal years 2021 and 2022 in response to the pandemic. Republicans in Congress have since rolled back funding despite increased demand.