NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING AND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 2:00 pm
District Department of the Environment
1200 First Street, NE, 7th Floor Conference Room 512
NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro Stop, Washington, D.C.
The District Department of the Environment (“DDOE”) invites the public to present its views and comments on DDOE’s Fiscal Year 2013 Final Abbreviated State Plan (“State Plan”) for the District’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (“LIHEAP” or “the Program”) at the above-scheduled public hearing. A copy of the document is available at [this page] and from DDOE’s offices, as described in this notice.
People attending the public hearing should check in with the guard in the building lobby, then go to DDOE’s reception desk on the 5th floor.
A person need not attend the public hearing in order to submit comments on the State Plan. Written comments may be submitted directly to DDOE by mail, hand delivery, or email. Instructions for submitting written comments appear below. DDOE will also consider as part of its record the oral statements provided at the public hearing; however, for the accuracy of the record, DDOE requests that these comments also be submitted in writing if convenient. DDOE will accept written comments on the State Plan until the close of business Friday, November 30, 2012.
DDOE appreciates the time, insight, and expertise that go into submitting comments. DDOE will carefully consider all of the comments that it receives.
Short Summary of the LIHEAP Program
In summary, this year's State Plan covers a federal grant award period for a “fiscal year” that runs from October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013 (“Fiscal Year 2013”). It provides that the District of Columbia will use federal funds to provide financial and other assistance to the District's neediest households, having an income of 60% or less of the District's median income level.
DDOE, as the State Plan administrator, will conduct outreach, advertising and public education. The agency will take applications for assistance at DDOE offices and community housing projects.
DDOE will then, for qualifying households, make payments to their energy providers. The Council of the District supplements the Program’s federal funding, so that more households can receive assistance.
DDOE does not yet know how much funding it will have available for LIHEAP in Fiscal Year 2013. The District Council has appropriated to the Program funds of $4,649,763.78 for Fiscal Year 2013. The Federal Government, through the US Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), has not yet advised DDOE of Fiscal Year 2013 funding. Last fiscal year HHS provided a total of $10.6 million LIHEAP funding in two payments, one in November 2011 and the other in January 2012. DDOE hopes to update the Fiscal Year 2013 figures for the Program at the public hearing.
The State Plan also provides that DDOE will try to assist particularly those with the lowest incomes who pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, and will try to intervene in energy crisis situations. DDOE will also try to provide low-cost residential weatherization and other cost-effective energy-related home repair. During fiscal year 2012 DDOE provided LIHEAP assistance to 21,688 households.
Income-eligible households may also include households in which one or more individuals are receiving governmental assistance under these programs: programs conducted under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (block grants to states for temporary assistance for needy families); the "SSI", supplemental security income payments under title XVI of the Social Security Act; food stamps under the Food Stamp Act of 1977; or payments under sections (“§§”) 415, 521, 541, or 542 of title 38, United States Code, or under § 306 of the Veterans' and Survivors' Pension Improvement Act of 1978. DDOE uses social security numbers as part of the Program’s eligibility verification process.
Benefit levels for the Program’s fiscal year are based on all of the following factors: the amount of funding likely for the Program for Fiscal Year 2013; household size (number of people); household type (single- or multi-family); household income; type of energy used (electric, gas or oil); amount of the outstanding bill; and the nature of the assistance (regular, crisis, weatherization). The financial assistance ranges, therefore, from $250 to $1500 for the regular, one-time benefit, up to $800 for a one-time crisis benefit, and up to $6572 for weatherization assistance. A computerized spreadsheet, or matrix, shows the particular amounts calculated from these factors. It is available for review on the website identified above.
There are some changes from last fiscal year’s state plan. Principally, the benefit levels are higher, based on estimates of funding. Also, in order to avoid gridlock in the first months, DDOE is staggering applications for the program, so that people with shut-off situations will be seen first, even on a walk-in basis; while other applicants will be scheduled for appointments with DDOE intake staff.
Instructions for Submitting Written Comments
Written comments should: (1) identify the commenter, and commenter’s organization, if any; (2) be clearly marked “LIHEAP FY 2013”, and be delivered in one of the following ways: (a) mailed or hand-delivered to Attn: Karl Muhammad, DDOE Energy Administration, Energy Assistance Branch, 1207 Taylor Street, NW, Washington DC 20011nergy Assistance Branch 1207 Taylor Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011posed to guessing on behalf of our funders.owledge?, Attention: LIHEAP FY 2013; (b) e-mailed to [email protected] (case sensitive, so all lower case), with the subject indicated as “LIHEAP FY 2013”; or (c) delivered in person at the public hearing, with similar identification.
(This notice is found in the DC Register at 59 DCR 012354 (Oct. 26, 20012))