Person warming hands in front of fire

Person warming hands in front of fire

What is the agency priority?

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), allocates federal funding assistance to states, territories, and Tribes and Tribal organizations, who then distribute benefits to eligible low-income households across the U.S. The goal of the LIHEAP program is to help with home energy costs and help families meet their immediate home energy needs. In addition to prioritizing households with the lowest incomes, LIHEAP benefits are targeted towards households with a high home energy burden (i.e. a high percentage of their income is spent on energy bills), and/or who have at least one household member who is vulnerable.1

ACF received an additional $4.5 billion for LIHEAP under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act in 2021, and $900 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act in 2020 with the goal of supporting low-income households who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in meeting their home energy needs.

What did we evaluate?

Grant recipients made a variety of changes to LIHEAP with the increased funding, which more than doubled the typical annual funding available. These changes included increasing benefit amounts to households, implementing new program components such as cooling assistance, or changing eligibility criteria to serve more households).2,3 We are working with ACF and one state grant recipient to examine the effectiveness of a program change on residents’ home energy needs.

How did the evaluation work?

Analysis plan forthcoming.

What did we learn?

This evaluation is currently being implemented and is part of our American Rescue Plan portfolio. Results forthcoming (2024).

Notes:

  1. The LIHEAP statute defines vulnerable households as those who have household members who are elderly (aged 60 or over), have a disability, and/or are a young child (under the age of 6).
  2. ARP provided $4.5 billion in supplemental funding for LIHEAP.
  3. An additional $900 million was also awarded by ACF to grant recipients under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act in FY 2020.

Year

2024

Status

Ongoing

Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change

Agency

Health and Human Services

Domain

American Rescue Plan