Washington - U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced the release of an additional $1.9 million in emergency funds to assist New Jersey's low income families and seniors with energy costs. Struggling New Jersey families have received a total of more than $177 million in 2011 in Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. States will be able to use the resources to help families this summer or next winter.

Sen. Menendez said, "This crucial funding will help thousands of New Jersey families with energy costs from a rough winter with high fuel oil prices. With this relief, New Jerseyans will be able to use more of their limited financial resources toward other basic needs and expenses. As we rebuild our economy , these funds will provide much-needed short term relief to thousands of families in our state. In addition, some or our elderly and sick constituents will also need this assistance for their cooling bills this summer."

LIHEAP was created to help eligible low income families with costs associated with heating and insulating their homes in the winter and cooling their homes in the summer. A total of $5.1 billion was awarded to the program in fiscal year 2010, including more than $590 million in LIHEAP contingency funding. For more information on the program, please visit: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/