Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ohio Home Energy Assistance Again Targeted by White House

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 12:38 PM

click to enlarge (BILL SMITH_03303/FLICKR)
  • (Bill Smith_03303/Flickr)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The White House again is targeting a program that helps reduce energy costs for struggling Ohioans.

President Donald Trump's recently proposed 2019 budget calls for the end to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helped about 8 percent of Ohio households - more than 344,000 families - in Fiscal Year 2017. As chairman of the Environmental Justice and Climate Committee for the Cleveland Chapter of the NAACP, Kent Whitley said LIHEAP helps prevent utility shut-offs, a problem that disproportionately impacts low-income families of color.

"A lot of the community is on public assistance, a lot of the community is working poor," Whitley said. "And when rates go up, you have to make a decision between food and electricity and gas. It's quite simple."

Trump's calls to eliminate LIHEAP in the past were met with resistance in Congress.

Opponents claim the program is unnecessary and is subject to fraud. But supporters counter that the assistance typically is provided directly to the utility provider and not the customer.

The president's budget proposal also would slash nearly $12 million in Weatherization Assistance Program funding. That's concerning to Doug Bell, an insulation installer in Cincinnati.

He cited the numerous benefits of weatherization.

"It's good for the economy, it's good for people's health. It just makes the house a more pleasant place to live," Bell said. "In addition, of course, to the energy savings: For every dollar we invest in energy efficiency, we get $5 back into the economy."

Conservation coordinator for the Sierra Club in Ohio Chad Stephens said LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program are integral to helping the state move toward energy efficiency.

"It's not one or the other, it's really both," Stephens said. "Weatherization is the long-term solution for applying energy solutions, and it helps us face climate change. But LIHEAP is helping people with that immediate assistance. It's funding for these families that are facing shut-off notices."

Ohio lawmakers are voting this year to reduce energy-efficiency standards. Stephens said the Sierra Club and other organizations are encouraging state leaders to instead strengthen energy-efficiency requirements for electric utilities and building energy codes for new-home construction, and to improve access to weatherization for low-income residents.

More information is available here.

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation