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Grant Program Offers Funds for Heating Costs During Dangerously Cold Season

by on January 23, 2014 11:49 AM

If you are struggling to pay your heating bill or faced with a broken heating system during this dangerously cold season, help is available.

Through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, low-income families can receive quick funds to cover their heating costs.

"It is brutally cold out there, so we don't want anyone out there going without heat or having to make a choice between buying groceries and paying for heat," says Kait Gillis, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.

LIHEAP is a program that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.

The fastest way to apply for assistance is online by clicking HERE. Residents can also call the LIHEAP Hotline at 866-857-7095.

Through the cash program, federal funds are distributed to residents with their heating bills. The average amount distributed this year is $228. This year, applications are down statewide for the cash program, Gillis says.

However, applications for crisis grants are up. This year, the state has received 45,645 crisis grant applications, which is up from 39,806 last year.

A crisis grant is for a resident who has a broken heating system, is in danger of being without fuel, or is at risk of having their utility service terminated. Grants range from $25 to $500. The average amount distributed this year is $468.

So far this year, the state has distributed roughly $78 million of $150 million in federal LIHEAP funds.

"The money is out there, they just need to contact us," Gillis says.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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