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September 7, 1999

Low Income Households Urged To Apply For Heating Assistance

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announce that Illinois households with disabled or elderly members, and those that are disconnected from their utilities, may now apply for heating assistance through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at locations throughout the state.

"Cooler weather is approaching, and this program helps those in greatest need prepare for the winter months," Ryan said. "Those on fixed incomes or with other financial hurdles can apply now for assistance that will help them stay warm this winter."

Total funding for the LIHEAP program this winter is approximately $110 million, with $42 million from the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Block Grant and $68 million from the state's Supplemental Low Income Energy Assistance fund. The program is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA).

"This is the second full year in which state funds will be used in conjunction with federal funding," explained DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "We hope to ensure the health and safety of more than ever before."

The energy assistance program is geared to households who have incomes up to 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. A family of one can have a monthly income of no more than $858, a two person household no more than $1,152 and a family of four an income of no greater than $1,740.

Benefits are provided directly to the household's gas or electric utility or delivered fuel dealer for households that heat with fuel oil or propane.

The months of September and October are set aside for households with elderly or disabled members and those disconnected from their utilities. All other households may begin submitting applications after November 1, 1999.

Benefits include repairs of inoperable residential heating systems, payments to utilities or fuel dealer on behalf of eligible households to help reduce energy bills, and emergency assistance to help disconnected households regain energy services. In limited instances where heat is included in rent and rent is greater than 30 percent of a household's income, a small cash payment may be made directly to the household.

LIHEAP is operated throughout the state by a network of local agencies who work with utilities, determine eligibility and provide benefits to household. Anyone wishing to apply should contact the local agency in the county where they live. Additional assistance is available by calling the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-800-252-8643.


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