AUGUSTA — Housing officials say low-income households in Maine are expected to receive an average of $553 in heating fuel assistance this winter.

MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick said today about 64,000 households are expected to receive help through the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

McCormick said this year’s benefit is far below last winter’s average payout of $844 per eligible household, but is in line with historic levels of funding.

Officials say $28 million in LIHEAP funding is budgeted for Maine this winter. When combined with other funds, the state will have a total of $32 million available for heating assistance.