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July 1 -- The Office of Community Services (OCS), Administration for Children and Families, HHS invites comments by August 1, 2022 regarding its proposal to revise the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Household Report for 2023.

OCS, Division of Energy Assistance, is requesting a substantial change of the Household Report (OMB #0970-0060, expiration May 31, 2025). Grant recipients complete the Household Report on an annual basis, completing either the Long Form or the Short Form version of the report. Submission of the completed report is one requirement for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grant recipients applying for federal LIHEAP block grant funds. OCS proposes substantive changes, including the addition of reporting requirements for assisted applicants and household member demographic characteristics on the Household Report Long Form and Short Form, and the removal of reporting requirements collecting counts of applicant households by assistance type and poverty interval on the Household Report Long Form. Comments are due by August 1, 2022.

States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are required to complete the Household Report-Long Form on an annual basis. The Long Form collects the following information:

Assisted households, by type of LIHEAP assistance and funding source;
Assisted households receiving bill payment assistance, by funding source;
Assisted households receiving any type of LIHEAP assistance, by funding source;
Assisted households by poverty interval, by type of LIHEAP assistance and funding source;
Assisted households, by type of LIHEAP assistance and funding source, having at least one vulnerable member who is at least 60 years or older, disabled, or 5 years old or younger;
Assisted households receiving any type of LIHEAP assistance or funding source, having at least one member 60 years or older, disabled, or 5 years old or younger.

Tribal grant recipients and other U.S. territory grant recipients are required to complete the Household Report-Short Form on an annual basis. The Short Form collects data only on the number of households, by funding source, receiving heating, cooling, energy crisis, and/or weatherization benefits.

The information reported in the Household Report Long Form and Short Form is being collected for the Department's annual LIHEAP Report to Congress. The data also provides information about the need for LIHEAP funds. Finally, the data are used in the calculation of LIHEAP performance measures under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The data elements will allow the accuracy of measuring LIHEAP targeting performance and LIHEAP cost efficiency.

ACF is proposing changes to the Household Report Long Form and Short Form beginning with FY 2023 reporting. These changes include additional reporting requirements for assisted household and household member demographic characteristics, and the removal of reporting requirements collecting counts of applicant households by assistance type and poverty interval on the Household Report Long Form. The additional reporting requirements include the following:

1. Number of Households by Owner/Renter Status (own, rent with utilities billed separately, rent with utilities in rental fee, other). [This is optional for FY 2023 reporting and required beginning with FY 2024 reporting].

2. Number of Assisted Applicants by Ethnicity. Grant recipients will report on assisted applicants by ethnicity according to standard census categories. [This is required beginning with FY 2023 reporting].

3. Number of Assisted Applicants by Race. Grant recipients will report on assisted applicants by race according to standard census categories. [This is required beginning with FY 2023 reporting].

4. Number of Assisted Applicants by Gender. Grant recipients will report on assisted applicants by gender. [This is required beginning with FY 2023 reporting].

5. Number of Assisted Household Members by Ethnicity. Grant recipients will report on assisted household members by ethnicity according to standard census categories. [This is optional for FY 2023 reporting and required beginning with FY 2024 reporting].

6. Number of Assisted Household Members by Race. Grant recipients will report on assisted household members by race according to standard census categories. [This is optional for FY 2023 reporting and required beginning with FY 2024 reporting].

7. Number of Assisted Household Members by Gender. Grant recipients will report on assisted household members by gender. [This is optional for FY 2023 reporting and required beginning with FY 2024 reporting].

The proposed additions will provide OCS with critical data that is needed to evaluate if LIHEAP is equitably serving communities across the country. The collection of demographic data including owner/renter status, race, ethnicity, and gender will allow OCS to conduct analysis disaggregated by these variables to assess whether LIHEAP resources are equitably distributed. Therefore, this data collection aligns with the goals of Executive Order 13985 (Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government). Additionally, collecting demographic data in LIHEAP will bring the program into alignment with other programs across OCS including the Community Services Block Grant, which currently collects demographic data on beneficiaries, and the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which will collect demographic data on beneficiaries in FY 2023.

To minimize reporting burden to the greatest extent possible, and in recognition of the significant overlap in LIHEAP and LIHWAP grant recipients, OCS is proposing to use the same demographic measures included in the LIHWAP Annual Report in the LIHEAP Household Report. OCS has also removed the reporting requirements for applicant households by assistance type and poverty interval on the Household Report Long Form to offset some of the additional reporting burden entailed by the demographic data collection.
 
LIHEAP: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/low-income-home-energy-assistance-program-liheap
LIHEAP Clearinghouse: https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/
LIHEAP Household Report FY2021: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/policy-guidance/liheap-2021-05-household-report-fy2021

LIHEAP draft survey instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uedygw1173xv5ha/AACOkYOQ3jo6XfnxDcgmovXAa?dl=0
Previous LIHEAP submission to OMB (approved 5.22.22): https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202202-0970-011# Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation.
FRN with proposed revisions for 2023: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-14057

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