Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


Despite the extraordinary need for the vital Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the program has seen major budget cuts as part of the Federal Budget’s Discretionary spending, even as fuel prices rise and incomes fall. The Vermont Community Action Partnership (VCAP – also known as the Vermont CAP Directors) has been the primary advocate for LIHEAP in Vermont. This case study examines VCAP’s measures to advocate for level funding of the LIHEAP program at the federal level, as well as influencing state level decision makers to improve service delivery to Vermont’s eligible low-income households.

This study combines in-depth interviews and participant observation completed during the author’s practicum with Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA), where she administered the Crisis Fuel program for low-income residents of southern Windham County, Vermont. The research aims to answer the questions: To what extent can the Vermont Community Action Partnership’s measures to advocate for level funding for LIHEAP be considered effective? And, what general lessons can be learned from their efforts? An analysis of the research data using Gabrielle Watson’s Framework of Impact Analysis for Social Justice Advocacy finds that VCAP’s “campaign” may not be considered effective – unless current input results in a change in state-level policy before the 2012-2013 heating season commences.


Economic Policy | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Politics and Social Change | Public Policy | Social Policy


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