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Need for Low-Income Heating Assistance Continues Despite Recent Drop in Some Home Heating Costs

This fact sheet analyzes data from both the Residential Energy Consumption Survey and the November 2008 Short-Term Energy Outlook report to examine heating-related energy consumption and expenditures among consumers age 65 and older based on income, heating fuel used, and geographic location. The analysis finds that although home heating costs will show a modest decline this winter, low-income households will continue to struggle to pay for heat, because energy costs have increased faster than purchasing power. Despite recent increases in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding, heating assistance remains inadequate. Home heating expenditures have gone up 80 percent since the winter of 2001-2002, but the average LIHEAP grant is only 3 percent higher. (5 pages)