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Support and Expansion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

WHEREAS, the NAACP strives to promote economic equality of all people, particularly the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our society; and 

WHEREAS, over 45.3 million Americans suffer from poverty, increasing by more than 5 million Americans from 2008 to 2013 according to the U.S. Census Bureau; and 

WHEREAS, people of color suffer disproportionately from impoverished conditions; 25.8 percent of African Americans and 23.5 percent of Hispanics live in poverty, compared to 9.6 percent of White Americans; and 

WHEREAS, in 1981, to ensure that no one will be forced to choose between heating or cooling their home and putting food on the table, Congress created the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP provides essential short term, long term, and emergency aid to prevent power being shut off for our nation's most underserved and vulnerable families; and 

WHEREAS, LIHEAP provides essential assistance to approximately 6.9 million families struggling to meet their vital energy needs as a result of low wages or disabilities, and to the elderly subsisting on stagnant wages; and \

WHEREAS, a portion of LIHEAP resources are allocated to residential weatherization and energy-related repairs that reduce households' energy needs by preventing air leakage into and out of the home, which can account for 30 percent of a home's energy costs; and 

WHEREAS, close to 80 percent of LIHEAP recipients fall below the poverty level, and 75 percent of all homes in need of aid have at least one member who is disabled, elderly, or has a young child, according to the Department of Health and Human Services; and 

WHEREAS, 80 percent of those eligible for LIHEAP do not receive LIHEAP assistance because LIHEAP funding levels are so low; and 

WHEREAS, increased funding for LIHEAP could provide opportunities to implement sustainable energy solutions, such as retrofitting existing homes and developments with solar and other renewable energy, thereby creating immediate relief to homes that may reduce monthly energy bills; and 

WHEREAS, LIHEAP funding applied to long term sustainable energy solutions would increase jobs, decrease harmful environmental impacts, and eventually reduce the overall assistance needed. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP support a substantial increase in LIHEAP funding to ensure that all families in need get the help that they need to meet vital energy needs; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP support extending LIHEAP to provide renewable energy initiatives, thereby ensuring greater economic freedom as well as reducing the impact of climate change that disproportionately affects the underserved in our country.