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RBC I With winter officially in full swing, many Coloradans are struggling with the costs of heating their homes. Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) offers help to eligible Coloradans by providing financial assistance with home heating bills. LEAP began accepting applications Nov. 1, 2011, and will continue to accept applications thru April 30, 2012.
LEAP is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size.
“This season approximately 90,000 Colorado families have applied for LEAP and the program has helped nearly 60,000 families cover heating costs, ensuring that thousands of Coloradans will remain warm throughout the winter,” said Todd Jorgensen, LEAP director.
According to Jorgensen, due to a decrease in federal funding, the income criteria for the LEAP program was reduced this season from 185 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. A family of four’s maximum household income may not exceed $2,794 per month; previously that amount was $3,400. The average LEAP benefit this season is about $300.
“We encourage Coloradans in need of assistance to call the HEAT HELP line, 1-866-HEAT-HELP, to find out if they qualify for LEAP,” explained Jorgensen. “Folks not meeting the new criteria will be given information on additional community resources.”
Potential program applicants may obtain an application through the following:
n Call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to have an application mailed.
n Visit any county department of social/human services across the state. To locate your county’s office, visit the program’s website at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
n Download and print an application from www.colorado. gov/cdhs/leap.
LEAP eligible households may also qualify for the Crisis Invention Program (CIP) and the Governor’s Energy Office’s Weatherization Program.
To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call toll free 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap to view the most current program application requirements.