FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8/31/2009
Ashley Cross  (312-814-3158)
Marcelyn Love, DCEO (217-558-1542)

 Governor Quinn Announces Availability of Home Heating Assistance Grants

Seniors, People with Disabilities Can Apply Early for LIHEAP

CHICAGO � August 31, 2009.  Governor Pat Quinn today urged seniors and people with disabilities to take advantage of tomorrow�s early application date for winter heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

 ï¿½Seniors and individuals with disabilities are especially vulnerable to the cold weather,� said Governor Quinn.  �I encourage people to apply for assistance through LIHEAP so that they can stay safe, warm and healthy this winter.�

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households.  This spring, Governor Quinn signed an executive order authorizing the LIHEAP program move from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Governor Quinn also signed legislation this spring to increase the LIHEAP eligibility level to households earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,354; a two-person household up to $1,821; and a family of four can earn up to $2,756.  Benefits are paid directly to utilities on behalf of eligible households.  The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent.

LIHEAP energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 community action agencies around the state.  These agencies will begin accepting applications on a first-come, first served basis from the elderly, people with disabilities, and other priority households on September 1. LIHEAP is expected to make energy assistance payments on behalf of more than 300,000 households this winter with an anticipated $150 million in federal and non-federal funding. 

For a complete listing of LIHEAP�s local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to LiheapIllinois.com, or call the toll-free hotline at 1 877 411-WARM.