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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Health Factors: Housing & Transit
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals State Government Federal Government
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) helps low income households meet their home energy needs. LIHEAP focuses on helping families with at least one member who is young, disabled, or elderly, referred to as ‘vulnerable households,’ and those with the lowest incomes and highest home energy costs, referred to as ‘high burden households’ (Murray 2014). Participants are also often at high risk for food insecurity (Frank 2006). LIHEAP is a federal program; states and territories apply for block grants and allocate available funds to approved households using locally designated formulas (US DHHS-LIHEAP). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced energy expenditures
Improved health outcomes

Evidence of Effectiveness

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) is a suggested strategy to alleviate the financial burden of energy costs for the lowest income and most vulnerable households (Murray 2014, NEADA-LIHEAP, Kuholski 2010 Frank 2006). Available evidence suggests that receiving LIHEAP benefits is also associated with improvements in children’s growth and health (Frank 2006, Kuholski 2010). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects. 

Researchers recommend increasing LIHEAP funds to ensure all income-eligible households are served (Murray 2014, Frank 2006), changing funding allocations to be more equitable among states (Kaiser 2006), and improving state-level distribution methods to best reach energy-insecure households (Murray 2014).

Implementation

United States

The US Office of Community Services (OCS), Division of Energy Assistance (DEA) provided $3.39 billion in funding for LIHEAP in fiscal year 2017 (LIHEAP Clearinghouse-Funding). Funds are awarded to territories, tribes, and states based on low income population and climate (US DHHS-LIHEAP).

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has an interactive database map of state and local energy-efficient policies and programs, which includes information on LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) (ACEEE-Energy policies).

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) offers financial assistance for heating and electricity bills to eligible families. In addition to ongoing heating and electricity assistance, services include: (1) emergency fuel assistance; (2) counseling for energy conservation and budgeting; (3) co-payment plans; (4) targeted outreach services; and (5) emergency furnace repair and replacement (Home Energy Plus-WHEAP).

Implementation Resources

ACEEE-SmarterHouse - American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). SmarterHouse: an up-to-date guide on energy savings in the home. Accessed on August 4, 2017
ChangeLab-Housing toolkit 2015 - ChangeLab Solutions. Preserving, protecting, and expanding affordable housing: A policy toolkit for public health. 2015. Accessed on August 4, 2017
LIHEAP-State data - Campaign for Home Energy Assistance. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): State data center. Accessed on August 4, 2017
LISC-Affordable housing - Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Helping neighbors build communities: Affordable housing. Accessed on August 4, 2017
US DHHS-LIHEAP - US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS), Administration for Children & Families (ACF). Low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP). Accessed on August 4, 2017

Citations - Description

Frank 2006 - Frank D, Neault NB, Skalicky A, et al. Heat or eat: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and nutritional and health risks among children less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics. 2006;118(5):1293-1302. Accessed on August 4, 2017
Murray 2014 - Murray AG, Mills BF. The impact of low-income home energy assistance program participation on household energy insecurity. Contemporary Economic Policy. 2014;32(4):811-825. Accessed on August 29, 2017
US DHHS-LIHEAP - US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS), Administration for Children & Families (ACF). Low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP). Accessed on August 4, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Frank 2006 - Frank D, Neault NB, Skalicky A, et al. Heat or eat: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and nutritional and health risks among children less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics. 2006;118(5):1293-1302. Accessed on August 4, 2017
Kaiser 2006* - Kaiser MJ, Pulsipher AG. Concerns over the allocation methods employed in the US Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program. Interfaces. 2006;36(4):344-58. Accessed on August 4, 2017
Kuholski 2010* - Kuholski K, Tohn E, Morley R. Healthy energy-efficient housing: Using a one-touch approach to maximize public health, energy, and housing programs and policies. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 2010;16(5 Suppl):S68–74. Accessed on August 4, 2017
Murray 2014 - Murray AG, Mills BF. The impact of low-income home energy assistance program participation on household energy insecurity. Contemporary Economic Policy. 2014;32(4):811-825. Accessed on August 29, 2017
NEADA-LIHEAP - National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA). NEADA and public health. The National Energy Assistance Survey and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); 2011. Accessed on August 29, 2017

Citations - Implementation

ACEEE-Energy policies - American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). State and local policy database of energy efficiency policies and programs. Accessed on August 4, 2017
Home Energy Plus-WHEAP - Home Energy Plus. Wisconsin home energy assistance program (WHEAP). Accessed on August 4, 2017
LIHEAP Clearinghouse-Funding - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Clearinghouse. LIHEAP and WAP funding, FY 2017. Accessed on August 4, 2017
US DHHS-LIHEAP - US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS), Administration for Children & Families (ACF). Low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP). Accessed on August 4, 2017

Page Last Updated

August 29, 2017

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