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November 10, 2015

Financial assistance now available for paying energy bills

average more than $500 for eligible residents

Boulder County, Colo. - As
energy costs continue to rise, help is once again available for Boulder County
residents who struggle to pay their winter heating bills.
LEAP, the Low-income Energy Assistance Program, is accepting
applications now through April 30, 2016.

LEAP assists low-income residents with
covering the costs of heating their homes. The program is designed to pay the
highest benefit to households with the highest heating costs. Income criteria
apply, including a limit of 165 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This
equates to a gross annual income of $19,416 for a family of one or $40,008 for
a family of four. Other eligibility factors apply, and residents are encouraged
to contact the LEAP office for more information. In the last heating season,
LEAP assisted 3,039 households with an average benefit of $529.

“We’re seeing more and more of our
neighbors who need this help,” said Theresa Kullen, LEAP Eligibility Technician
Manager for the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services
(BCDHHS). “Energy costs remain high, and our lower-income residents are still
struggling with the high cost of housing and other expenses in Boulder County.”

BCDHHS also continues to oversee a local
expansion of the Heating Assistance Program and can provide help for Boulder
County households with a higher annual income limit than the LEAP Program. Funded
through the Human Services Safety Net property tax, this expansion has gross monthly
income limits of 225 percent of FPL, which is $25,860 for a family of one or $52,992
for a family of four. In the last heating season, the expanded Heating
Assistance Program helped 272 households with an average benefit of $442.

“The supports we’re able to provide
all work together to help our residents maintain health and well-being,” said County
Commissioner Elise Jones. “A warm home in the winter is just one of the
supports, but it’s an important one.”

For more details on LEAP or to
obtain an application, residents should contact the State of Colorado LEAP
Information Line at 866-HEAT-HELP (866-432-8435). The Boulder County LEAP
office is located at 515 Coffman St., in Longmont.

“We hope our neighbors will apply today, even if
they’re not sure they’ll qualify,” Kullen said.