RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that nearly $1.6 billion has been awarded to help families with heating and cooling costs.

Officials said the grant awards are part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help low-income households with their energy costs.

“LIHEAP provides a vital lifeline to households struggling to maintain affordable home energy services,” said ACF Assistant Secretary January Contreras. “As the nation grapples with the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, which disproportionately impacts communities of color and lower-income households, LIHEAP is especially important to creating greater equity in accessing energy services.”

LIHEAP aids with energy assistance, but it goes beyond that as well to help with “crisis and weatherization assistance,” officials stated.

For more information, and to apply for assistance, click here or call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline at 1-866-674-6327.