$27.25 Million in Emergency Energy Assistance Released

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced $27.25 million in emergency energy assistance to assist states hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. This release of funds reflects initial requests from the affected states and their current ability to distribute the funds. Further releases are anticipated when additional information becomes available and the states' ability to distribute the funds effectively is increased.

"The suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina warrants the immediate response of all sectors of government," Secretary Leavitt said. "President Bush is releasing this emergency energy assistance to help children, families, and communities throughout the Gulf region in their urgent time of need."

The funding, released to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), can be used for a wide range of purposes, including transportation to shelters for individuals whose health is endangered by loss of access to cooling, utility reconnection costs, repair or replacement costs for furnaces and air conditioners, insulation repair, as well as paying energy costs.

"This energy aid is being sent to help those in most need, particularly the disabled, the disadvantaged, and the elderly," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "The Bush Administration is responding quickly with this energy assistance to help the people of the Gulf region in their recovery process."

Today's announcement uses emergency contingency funds which have been authorized by Congress, and funds are over and above $1.9 billion provided to states so far this season, plus an additional $250 million in emergency assistance.

All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news

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