By Jayne Keedle
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was in New London on Tuesday to talk to Deb Monahan, executive director of the Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA), about the effect sequester-related funding cuts are having on the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
TVCCA is a nonprofit corporation that provides social services to people in need throughout New London County, with 28 programs serving about 26,000 clients annually. Many of them depend on the Low Income Heating Assistance Program administered by TVCCA to keep them warm in the winter. TVCCA, in turn, depends on federal money to keep the program going.
According to Murphy's office, Connecticut’s annual federal home energy funding has fallen by nearly $21 million since 2010, and could fall even further with continued sequestration cuts. If sequester remains in place, hundreds could see their assistance reduced.
Earlier this year, Murphy joined his colleagues to push back on further cuts to LIHEAP funding, highlighting the fact that the number of households eligible for the program has surpassed the number able to receive assistance because of federal sequestration’s cuts to the program.
While in New London, Murphy met with TVCCCA agency staff and clients who use this program to gather information in advance of budget conversations between members of the House and Senate that will review the impact of these cuts to the U.S. economy’s long-term health.
Murphy said he supports restoring funding for the fuel assistance program. "Thousands of Connecticut families rely on it," Murphy noted on Twitter, adding that the LIHEAP funding "must be preserved in budget talks."
For now, the program is continuing as planned. TVCCA is currently accepting applications from families and individuals for heating assistance this winter. Fuel deliveries begin November 15.