HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Summer is winding down, and the cost to heat your home this winter is likely to get more expensive, which could really put a strain on low-income families.

The state is trying to help ease the burden for people living on a tight budget.

As a renter in Hartford, Kristen is bracing for higher heating bills this winter with energy prices more than double what they were in January.

“I want to see how the government will handle the high costs of things, see if they can help us lower the bills a bit,” Kristen said.

Connecticut households are more dependent on heating oil to keep homes warm in the winter, while other regions rely more on natural gas.

“We have to take action now,” said Leticia Colon de Mejia, CEO of Energy Efficient Solutions. “The cost of energy is increasing and impacting working families, vulnerable communities, elderly, and children.”

At the Capitol, energy leaders advocated for more federal dollars to support LIHEAP, Connecticut’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which distributes federal funding to keep vulnerable residents afloat.

“We see people walk in every day. The faces of poverty today aren’t the faces of poverty in the past,” said Joanne Balaschak, Director of Energy Services for New Opportunities Inc.

Over 400,000 Connecticut families struggle to pay their energy bills. The program is on track to see a 50% decrease in funding from last year.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see we are $60 million short in funding for this program,” said State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown.

“There’s been an increase in participants of more than 15,000. The pie gets smaller because we have more people,” said Rep. Toni Walker of New Haven.

To increase benefits, Connecticut Republicans are proposing to supplement the $79 million in expected federal LIHEAP funds with ARPA funds, which they say would increase total home energy assistance to $191.5 million.

In the LIHEAP program, the benefit amount per eligible household depends on income level as well as household size. Applications for energy assistance open on Sept. 1.