DENVER (KDVR) — Families in Colorado, struggling to pay their heating bills, could be seeing relief after Colorado received $54 million to assist low-income families.
“No Coloradan should have to worry about keeping their home warm this winter,” U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper said in a press release Wednesday. “LIHEAP keeps working families and seniors on a fixed income safe.”
FOX31 and Channel 2 were able to talk with Theresa Kullen, the Colorado LEAP (Low-income Energy Assistance Program) manager, on Wednesday following the announcement of the millions now here to help Coloradans who qualify.
“When we get that first cold blast we see an increase with people realizing they need help in paying the bill,” Kullen said.
She said they open the online application process this upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 1. Kullen explained there are requirements for applicants to meet in order to be approved to receive the heating bill funding.
“That is what we are here for, we are here for those who qualify for our program,” Kullen said. “We want to help.”
According to LEAP’s website, eligible applicants’ incomes must be 60% of the state median income level. The state median income level used for the 2022-23 LEAP season was released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in July 2022. How much energy assistance is offered varies depending on a variety of factors, including the primary heating fuel costs and income.
Kullen said last year their assistance was in demand because of high energy prices. She said they expect a slight drop in gas prices but still expect a lot of families to need help.
“The energy prices went up so high last year it was frightening,” Kullen said. “Like our application base last year based on increased energy cost was over 16%.”
According to the press release sent out, last season approximately 77,500 low-income households in Colorado received assistance with heating and cooling costs.
Kullen also said applying to LEAP opens doors to other parts of the program, including assistance with the costs of repairing or replacing furnaces.
“Usually this time of year the first time people turn on their furnaces guess what you realize, ‘Oh no, I have a broken furnace,'” Kullen said.
She explained they have never run out of funding to help in previous years.