Kilili: CNMI Gets $56K in LIHEAP Grant

249

Guam – CNMI Congressman Kilili Sablan has announced that the Commonwealth will receive $56-thousand dollars from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program.[LIHEAP].

LIHEAP provides financial assistance to qualifying low-income households to pay for heating or cooling costs.

In a release, Congressman Sablan notes that CNMI residents “ face electrical rates almost four times the national average and require home cooling year around, so every dollar is helpful.”

READ the announcement from Congressman Sablan below:

News Release
November 7, 2013
For Immediate Distribution

FY14 LIHEAP funds released

Saipan, MP – Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan announced today that federal energy assistance grant funds are being released for FY14. The Northern Mariana Islands is scheduled to receive $56,000 for the year from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“Energy costs are high in the Northern Marianas and LIHEAP is an important way for Congress to assist those in need,” Sablan said. “We face electrical rates almost four times the national average and require home cooling year around, so every dollar is helpful.”

Because Congress has yet to agree on total appropriations for fiscal 2014 the LIHEAP grant announced today is only about 90 percent of the expected annual grant.

The Northern Marianas will receive $50,000 initially and the balance sometime after January 15, when FY14 appropriations should be finalized. Today’s release does factor in the effect of sequestration, the forced across-the-board cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

LIHEAP provides financial assistance to qualifying low-income households to pay for heating or cooling costs. States and territories set the income threshold for ecipients, although under federal law households cannot earn more than 150 percent of the federal poverty level or more than 60 percent of state/territorial median income level, whichever is higher.

The territories’ congressional representatives have petitioned the Secretary of Health and Human Services to increase grant amounts for the island areas, which the Secretary currently has legal authority to do. But so far, no adjustment has been made.

“I understand that the Department is doing a very thorough analysis of our request,” Congressman Sablan reports. “Any change the Secretary makes in our allotment has to be well-supported by data, because there are limited dollars available. Giving more to the insular areas necessarily means others receive less.”