Rep. McLaughlin legislation would include retirees, middle income earners in heating assistance guidelines
STATE HOUSE — Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) has introduced legislation that would add middle income earners and retirees to those eligible for home heating assistance.
The bill (2022-H 7286) would include middle income taxpayers and retirees as eligible participants for home heating assistance to include households which meet 85% of Rhode Island’s median income levels.
“As inflation continues to have a stranglehold on household budgets, many families are going to find themselves in dire financial situations next winter as they struggle to heat their homes,” said Representative McLaughlin. “We have an opportunity right now to stem that tide by making LIHEAP money available to more families through money available through the American Rescue Plan Act.”
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), established in 1981, is a program through which the federal government makes annual grants to states, tribes, and territories to operate home energy assistance programs for low-income households. Soon after, Rhode Island created the LIHEAP Enhancement Plan to supplement the federal law.
Representative McLaughlin’s legislation would double the amount of assistance available to participants, to be funded by available American Rescue Plan funds.