Thursday, Sept. 2

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State offers early applications for
winter energy assistance    
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[SEPT. 2, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Tuesday that the state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is taking applications, beginning Sept. 1, from disabled and elderly residents.

"By starting enrollment now for our state's most vulnerable residents, we're trying to make sure our elderly, disabled and those who had their service disconnected last year, stay safe and warm this year," said Gov. Blagojevich. "With energy prices expected to continue to rise, no one who is qualified should miss out on this opportunity to receive help to keep their homes warm this winter."

Gov. Blagojevich's budget boosted LIHEAP funding in fiscal 2005 by $3 million, to a total of $147 million. The federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Block Grant program is contributing $82 million, and the state's Supplemental Low Income Energy Assistance fund is contributing $65 million.

Last year, the program gave grants to 293,000 Illinois households, averaging $497 per grant.

The energy assistance program is designed to assist households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,164, a two-person household up to $1,561, and a family of four can earn up to $2,355. Benefits are paid directly to the household's gas or electric utility or to a delivered fuel dealer if the household heats with fuel oil or propane.   

During an early filing period in September and October, the program accepts applications from elderly and disabled people and households that have had their heat source disconnected. All other households may apply starting Nov. 1.

 

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In July, administration of the program, along with that of the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, was shifted from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to the Illinois Department of Public Aid.

"I am happy to say that, thanks to a lot of hard work by a number of staffers at both DCEO and IDPA, the transition process has been carried out seamlessly," said Director of Public Aid Barry S. Maram. "The mission of LIHEAP and IHWAP really fits in well with that of IDPA, which is to empower low-income Illinoisans to lead healthier, more independent and more fulfilling lives."

The home weatherization program helps low-income residents save fuel and money by paying for projects such as insulating attics and walls, repairing windows and doors, and weatherstripping and caulking.

Applications for both programs are made directly through a statewide network of local Community Action agencies.

For a complete listing of the local agencies and additional information about the program, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free information line at 1 (800) 252-8643.

[News release from the governor's office]

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