During the holiday season, many families face the added expense of gifts and festivities in addition to a noticeable increase in their monthly heating bills. This winter, Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) wants all Colorado families to know that small changes in energy usage habits can result in significant savings to home heating costs.
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. Applicant income may not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty index, which is $2,882 per month before taxes for a household of four people. According to Aggie Berens, LEAP manager, the average LEAP benefit is estimated to be $302 per household.
“Making smart and effective choices to lower home heating costs doesn’t mean families have to drastically change their lifestyle,” said Berens. “Instead, families can put into practice a variety of energy saving tips that are not only energy efficient, but cost effective.”
There are many free ways to save money on energy bills this winter. These include:
For additional tips visit http://www.energyoutreach.org
When minor changes to a home’s energy efficiency are not enough and costly repairs are needed to properly keep a family warm, LEAP eligible households may also qualify for the Crisis Invention Program (CIP) and the Colorado Energy Office’s Weatherization Program. The CIP operates year-round and provides assistance with a home’s primary heating source such as a furnace or wood-burning stove. The Weatherization Program improves the energy efficiency in homes throughout Colorado, thereby permanently reducing heating costs.
To qualify for LEAP, applicants must be responsible for paying heating costs directly to an energy provider, fuel dealer or as part of rent; be a permanent legal resident of the United States and Colorado or have household members that are U.S. citizens.
LEAP applicants must provide a copy of valid identification and a completed affidavit indicating that they are lawfully present in the United States. Valid forms of identification include, but are not limited to:
As defined by the Colorado Department of Revenue, other forms of identification may be accepted as well. For more information on lawful presence requirements, contact the DOR or visit www.colorado.gov/revenue.
Completed LEAP applications can be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county office. Potential program applicants may obtain an application through the following:
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.