WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — More assistance is on the way for low-income Americans who need help with their heating and cooling bills.

“It allows our families to have a bit of breathing room,” Office of Community Service Director Dr. Lanikque Howard said.

Dr. Howard says more than $500 million are being made available to cover the low-income home energy assistance program known as LIHEAP.

“LIHEAP makes home energy more affordable for those individuals who may be struggling to make ends meet,” Dr. Howard said.

The funds are in addition to the one billion awarded last month to help with crisis assistance and weatherization services, to make these homes energy efficient.

“To bring down those bills, but to reduce our energy consumption as well,” Dr. Howard said.

Dr. Howard says the money can also be used by communities to better prepare for unexpected weather events, like noreasters and heat waves.

“To really support households who might be in need after these kinds of natural disasters,” Dr. Howard said.

In the past year, LIHEAP served more than six million U.S. households.

“There’s just been a significant increase and uptick and the amount of applications that our grant recipients are receiving all across the country,” Dr. Howard said.

Dr. Howard says the new funds still won’t be enough to help all the eligible households, but she says she’s confident the administration and congress will continue to dedicate resources to the program.