Federal grant helps low-income Washington households stay cool | Washington

(The Center Square) – Some Washingtonians may receive financial assistance to escape the summer heat. The states Home Energy Assistance Program for Low-Income Households now grants subsidies for certain cooling units to eligible candidates.

LIHEAP distributes funds from the federal block grant program to help low-income households in public services and avoid disconnection. In October 2021, the scope of the program was expanded to support the acquisition of mobile air conditioning units designed to cool a space of at least 300 square feet.

Eligibility is set at an income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. For an individual, the eligible amount is $1,610 less per month. For a family of four, $3,313 per month.

Above average temperatures are expected this week in Washington. Seattle could reach 91 degrees midweek, compared to an average high temperature of 72 in July. Spokane is expected to hit 105 degrees, 16 degrees above its average summer high. Yakima’s high temperature could exceed 110 degrees, 21 degrees above the norm.

The LIHEAP program, run by the state Department of Commerce, receives 50 to 100 phone calls a day about cooling assistance program director Brian Sarensen, according to published reports. To date, 1,324 air conditioners have been provided to Washingtonians, most in King County, the report said.

About 53% of Washington households used air conditioning in 2020, according to the US Energy Information Administration. About 30% of homes in Washington have central air conditioning. Nearly a quarter of the rest have individual air conditioning units. Nationally, nearly 90% of households used air conditioning during this time.

In April, the Washington State Building Code Board effectively banned non-electric heating in commercial buildings, which could mean increased use of heat pumps in apartment buildings in the future. Heat pumps can also provide air cooling.

The record temperature in Washington was 120 degrees, recorded by the US Department of Energy at the Hanford nuclear reserve on June 29, 2021.

Julio V. Miller