It’s Thursday, November 3, and new funding is on the way for home heating and efficiency upgrades.

Winter is coming — and for many American families, so are higher home heating bills. But the federal government has a plan to ease the burden.

A new initiative from the Biden administration will provide more than $13 billion to blunt spiking energy costs for low- and moderate-income families. Some $4.5 billion will come from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program — a longstanding program of the Department of Health and Human Services that directly subsidizes home heating and cooling costs and helps families weatherize and repair their homes. Another $9 billion, made available by the Inflation Reduction Act, will go toward state- and tribe-administered programs to support energy efficiency upgrades.

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The announcement comes amid a period of high price volatility for natural gas, driven in part by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Prices have come down in the U.S. since they peaked in August, but they remain higher today than at any point since 2008 and are expected to hit poorer households particularly hard this winter. According to the Department of Energy, low-income families already spend almost 9 percent of their income on energy, roughly three times more than other income groups. They’re also less likely to live in buildings that have been recently upgraded for energy efficiency.

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“As heating costs increase, it is more important than ever to help families struggling to make ends meet,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “With this funding, we will help protect the health and well-being of Americans by keeping them safe and warm this winter.”

The new funding could help in the summer, too, as heat waves fueled by climate change become more common. According to a White House fact sheet, the $9 billion for home efficiency programs could help fund the installation of up to half a million heat pumps, which not only heat but also cool homes.

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