Over $50,000 is coming to the CNMI to help low-income families with their utility needs.
The U.S. Congress, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, has appropriated a supplemental funding of $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program—a federal program that helps low-income households pay for energy or make their homes more energy efficient—and about $4.5 million of that is going to the U.S. territories.
The CNMI will be getting $57,022, Puerto Rico, $4,075,312; Guam, $164,177; the U.S. Virgin Islands, $155,248; and American Samoa, $74,883.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the supplemental funding last Friday.
According to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), the Marianas LIHEAP is getting the additional funding to help families pay utility bills, where the money is to be used for home energy needs associated with the COVID-19 emergency.
LIHEAP provides CUC crisis assistance when utility services are shut off, or about to shut off by paying for the connection or disconnection fee, by providing energy bill payment assistance, or by providing energy-related home repairs that will help save energy costs.
With people getting laid off and furloughed due to the pandemic, Sen. Vinnie Sablan (Ind-Saipan), at a Senate session last month, called for the provision of utilities to be prioritized in the CNMI. (Iva Maurin)