Having trouble paying your heat bill? This statewide program offers assistance
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that Minnesota will receive $98,762,312 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
LIHEAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.
It also helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($43,642 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.
“We encourage all Minnesotans who may have difficulty paying their heating bills to apply for LIHEAP assistance. Households that include children under the age of 6, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are especially encouraged to apply,” said commerce commissioner Mike Rothman.
Last year, Minnesota served 147,636 households and renters with $109.6 million in federal funds. The average household income of those receiving LIHEAP funds was $16,422.
Approximately 73 percent of the homes included at least one senior, person with a disability, or a child younger than 18. This year, the average grant per household will be $500.
Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Interested households should contact their local service provider by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Commerce Department’s website at mn.gov/commerce/energy.
The announcement of the grant awards to all the states from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be found at liheap.ncat.org/news/nov12/funding.htm.