Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking the federal government to fully fund programs that help thousands of Kentuckians either survive winter temperatures or their battle with addiction.
In a recent letter to federal leaders, Beshear is opposing federal budget cuts to the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
“Both LIHEAP and CDBG provide critical assistance to Kentuckians most in need,” Beshear said. “On behalf of all Kentuckians, I am asking that our congressional delegation oppose the elimination of these programs. The lives of our families may depend on it.”
Beshear said LIHEAP helps Kentuckians who would not be able to afford “to keep their homes heated and their lights on.”
Last year, the subsidy component of the program’s bill payment plan offset heating costs for over 80,000 Kentucky households with an average one-time benefit of $138 per household for a total of more than $11.1 million.
The crisis component of the bill payment plan helped over 79,000 Kentuckians who experienced an energy crisis, such as pending utility disconnections, with an average benefit of $303 for a total of $24 million. In total, more than 116,000 Kentucky families received benefits totaling more than $35 million.
Beshear said CDBG funds provide approximately $22 million annually to help primarily rural counties across the state better serve their citizens. Just as important is CDBG Housing Programs Grant funds that support substance abuse treatment through the Recovery Kentucky residential program.
The Recovery Kentucky program leverages funds from CDBG, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Federal HOME and Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars to construct and provide operating dollars for high-quality treatment services to citizens battling addiction, Beshear said.
“At a time when Kentucky is battling addiction at an unprecedented rate, federal funding to keep our Recovery Kentucky centers operating is critical to the future of our people and state,” Beshear said.
There are currently 17 Recovery Kentucky centers, including the original model programs in Louisville and Lexington, and an additional five women’s centers and eight men’s centers, each housing 100 clients.
A 2017 study by the University of Kentucky tells us that the program works: after one year of program participation 84 percent of users were drug-free and 94 percent of clients previously addicted to opioids were drug-free.