State program provides Coloradans with heating assistance | SummitDaily.com
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State program provides Coloradans with heating assistance

DAILY NEWS STAFF REPORT

As Coloradans continue to experience a bitter cold winter, help is available for those struggling to pay heating bills through the Colorado Department of Human Services, Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). LEAP provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum income of $2,559 per month before taxes for a household of three people. The anticipated average LEAP benefit for 2006-2007 is approximately $280 per family. According to LEAP staff, in 2005-2006 approximately 107,000 Colorado households received LEAP payment assistance compared to 96,000 the previous winter. As of Dec. 28, approximately 39,000 households have been approved to receive LEAP assistance this year, giving them much needed warmth. LEAP applicants must reside in Colorado and be U.S. citizens or legal aliens. Applicants must also be responsible for paying heating costs, either to a utility company or to a landlord as part of rent. LEAP applications are available from Nov. 1 to April 30 of each year. Potential program applicants can apply several ways:• Call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435) to have an application mailed.• LEAP applications are available at every county department of social/human services across the state. Most state utility companies also keep a supply of LEAP applications and instruction sheets. • LEAP applications can also be downloaded from the program’s website at http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/leap/apply.htm. Applicants may then fax, mail or deliver a completed application to their appropriate county office.• Many community agencies throughout the state also stock LEAP applications. For more information about LEAP, please call (866) HEAT-HELP, or visit http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/leap/index.htm to view the most current program application requirements.


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