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Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH)

Background

The 1994 reauthorization of LIHEAP added a new section to the LIHEAP statute. Section 2607(b), effective in FY 1996, authorizes a new, optional initiative, the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge (REACH) grant, funding for which would be taken out of the LIHEAP leveraging incentive program funds (up to 25 percent of the amount authorized for the leveraging program for FY 1996 and 1997). "Such sums as may be necessary" have been authorized for FY 1998 and 1999.

States that qualify can use the REACH funds to: "minimize the health and safety risks that result from high energy burdens on low income Americans, prevent homelessness as a result of inability to pay energy bills, increase the efficiency of energy usage by low income families, and target energy assistance to individuals who are most in need."

Additional funds may be made available to state REACH programs that: "have energy efficiency education services plans that meet quality standards established by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Energy; and have the potential for being replicable model designs for other programs." States must use these additional funds for the implementation and evaluation of the energy efficiency education services.