Trump Budget Could Mean End For PA LIHEAP Program

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many Philadelphia-area organizations are aghast to see President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, slashing programs that provide them funding.

The budget would zero out the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Community Development Block Grants, the Legal Services Corporation, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, among others.

One of the most devastating cuts would be to a program that provides heating assistance for the poor.

LIHEAP is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides families $200-300 a year so they don’t lose utility service.

Some 75,000 Philadelphians rely on it to stay warm and avert tragedies such as carbon monoxide poisoning, or fires caused by unsafe heat sources.

Community Legal Services attorney Maripat Pileggi helps families sign up.

“More than half of the families who received LIHEAP last year included people with disabilities, someone who’s elderly, or very young children,” she said.

Pileggi says the program is particularly important in Pennsylvania, where low-income people generally pay 17% of their income on utilities– more than other states.

In New Jersey, for example, that figure is 6%. Higher income people pay 3.5% on average.

She says the cut would also impact the state’s utilities, which receive $100-to-150 million a year from the program.

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