LEAP offers residents more than just help with heating bills

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RBC I The Low-income Energy Assistance Program’s (LEAP) primary mission of helping Coloradans pay winter home heating costs is complemented by two crucial programs: the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program.

LEAP is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services that helps eligible Coloradans from November through April with cash assistance for their home heating bills. As of Jan. 21, LEAP had approved more than 53,078 benefits, and the average benefit was $387.
But LEAP’s support doesn’t end there. The Crisis Intervention Program operates year-round and provides assistance with the repair or replacement of the home’s primary heating system, such as a furnace or wood-burning stove.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is a program from the Colorado Energy Office. It is designed to improve energy efficiency in homes throughout Colorado, thereby helping to reduce heating costs permanently.
“Our clients have a wide variety of circumstances, and we want to make sure they have the resources they need to stay warm during the winter,” LEAP Manager Aggie Berens says. “Those resources extend beyond just finances. We’re proud to support our clients and other eligible Coloradans with two programs that help them with adequate home heating equipment and facilities.”
For CIP, households that qualify for energy bill payment assistance through LEAP and have a non-working heating system can call toll-free 1-855-4-MY-HEAT (1-855-469-4328) to request repair or replacement as well as snow removal for fuel delivery in rural areas. The program does not provide regular maintenance and servicing of heating systems.
Coloradans who qualify for LEAP can also access the Weatherization Assistance Program. Weatherization is a blanket term for a variety of measures that improve a home’s energy efficiency. These cost-effective improvements and upgrades will reduce energy usage, save money and improve the overall comfort of a home year-round.
Weatherization improvements may include: An energy audit; Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb retrofits (CFLs); air sealing; insulation in the attic, floor and walls; furnace safety testing; furnace repair or replacement; refrigerator replacement; storm windows; and energy conservation information.
Eligible Coloradans should contact their local weatherization agency for more information. Contact information for the state’s weatherization agencies is available at 1-800-462-0184 or the following website: www.colorado.gov/cs/ Satellite/GovEnergyOffice/CBON/1251599946156
LEAP applicants must be Colorado residents and U.S. citizens or legal aliens. They also need to provide a copy of a valid identification and a completed affidavit to comply with Colorado Revised Statutes regarding documentation of lawful presence.
Applicants also must be responsible for paying heating costs, either directly to a utility company or to a landlord as part of rent. Applicants’ income cannot exceed 165 percent of the federal poverty index.
People interested in applying can call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to order a mailed application. Alternatively, applications are available at every county department of social or human services, most utility companies and many community agencies. Applications also can be downloaded from www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
LEAP accepts applications until April 30.
Colorado also offers a rebate of property tax, rent and heat expenses to low-income seniors and disabled persons. Please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue’s website at www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/104PTC.pdf for more information and the rebate application booklet.