State’s home energy assistance program accepting applications

CHICAGO—Folllowing the launch of the “Keep Warm Illinois” campaign, Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced Nov. 1 that winter heating grants are now available for all income-eligible households through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help Illinoisans meet their winter heating needs.

Blagojevich urged families that may be eligible for LIHEAP to apply early, given the anticipated rise in heating bills this winter and to take steps now to conserve energy by weatherizing their homes.

“With the cost of home heating expected to skyrocket this year, Illinois families who may be eligible for LIHEAP should apply early so they can keep warm and safe during the cold months ahead,” Blagojevich said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure families aren’t left to make difficult decisions about paying their heating bills or putting food on the table this winter. Illinoisans should take the time now to weatherize their homes and conserve energy to reduce their heating bills.”

Through LIHEAP, a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program run by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Service (HFS), heating bill payments are made on behalf of households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Blagojevich made LIHEAP funding available Sept. 1 to households with elderly or disabled members and those currently without home heating due to service disconnections.

“LIHEAP grant applications can be processed in areas across the state of Illinois, and with heating bills on the rise this winter, we hope families will apply for energy assistance as soon as possible,” said Barry Maram, director of HFS. “Taking steps now could make a huge difference for families and especially vulnerable households when the really cold winter is upon us.”

A single-person household can qualify for LIHEAP with a monthly income of up to $1,196, a two-person household up to $1,604, and a family of four can earn up to $2,420. Benefits are paid directly to the household’s appropriate utility.

The energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. These agencies accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis until funding for the program is exhausted.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administrating agencies and additional information about the grant program, go to, or call the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-800-252-8643.

The winter heating program is expected to reach 300,000 households this winter with an estimated $150 million in state and federal funding.

Blagojevich launched the “Keep Warm Illinois” campaign and Web site to help all Illinoisans stay warm, healthy and safe this winter. The Keep Warm Illinois campaign is a comprehensive effort to inform and prepare Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children and people with disabilities, for record high home heating costs this winter. It will include unprecedented coordination between state agencies as well as a statewide public awareness effort in partnership with community colleges and Clear Channel Radio in Chicago to help inform Illinoisans about winter preparations and resources available. Visit the Web site at for more information.

From the Nov. 9-15, 2005, issue

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