Hurd on the Hill: Keeping Homes Cool Through the Summer Heat

July 23, 2018
Hurd on the Hill: Local Columns
Providing support for our families from San Antonio to El Paso

Here in South and West Texas, we are no strangers to the summer heat. Unfortunately, as we all know, with rising temperatures comes rising costs of energy bills each month. And in this blazing heat, the air conditioning certainly is a needed ally to survive the summer.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, is critical in providing support for our families from San Antonio to El Paso. LIHEAP keeps Americans safe and healthy by helping seniors and low-income households with their energy bills, providing vital assistance during both the cold winter months and hot summer months. According to the National Energy Assistance Director’s Association (NEADA), nearly 90 percent of LIHEAP recipients have at least one household member who is a child, elderly or disabled.

Due to the funding formula for this program, Texans have historically received a meager share of LIHEAP support compared to other states, with only four percent of eligible Texas households receiving funds – well below the twenty percent average nationwide. Alarmed with this statistic, I knew I had to work with my fellow colleagues representing the great state of Texas on both side of the political aisle to fix this problem.

In March, I mobilized several of my friends from Texas, both Republican and Democrat, to pen a letter together to the Subcommittee that decides how funds are allocated related to Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies. After flagging the problem to the Members on the Subcommittee, they not only increased overall funding for the program by 7%, but also changed the allocation of LIHEAP funds so that Texas receives nearly $34 million more in funding. I’m incredibly proud to have helped ensure that an estimated 32,000 additional households in Texas’ 23rd will be able to receive assistance from this program, which will make the summer heat a bit more bearable on our neighbors’ health and checkbooks. If you think you might qualify for LIHEAP funding, please visit the program’s site to learn more: www.tdhca.state.tx.us/community-affairs/ceap/.

I came to Congress to find bipartisan solutions that deliver real results back home, and I’ll continue to be a strong, loud voice for South and West Texans in Congress. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns, and for further updates on my work for you, I encourage you to subscribe to my e-newlsetter at hurd.house.gov and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube at @HurdontheHill.