Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1109612

Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 16, 2014

Requests for assistance on the rise

LiHEAP offers help to qualified families to pay for heating costs
By Xiomara Levsen | Jan 31, 2014

Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) has seen an increase in requests for assistance with heating costs this winter season.
Mitch Finn, Deputy Executive Director of HACAP said in Washington County alone they have helped about 450 families from October 2013 to the present date with the regular heating assistance program and the emergency fuel program through (LiHEAP).
LiHEAP helps families who qualify for energy assistance for paying for heating costs, emergency propane fuel deliveries, and helps by paying reconnect fees for utilities, he said.
One program in particular has had an increase of requests for assistance.
“We have certainly seen an uptick in the emergency fuel program,” Finn said, “Most of the people who use propane live in rural areas or live in mobile homes.”
Prices of propane reached $5 a gallon this past week, Finn said. The higher costs for propane and the colder winter has led to an increase in demand for emergency fuel assistance, but there is good news, Finn said.
“Some of our bigger vendors have prices down to around $3.70,” he said. “Prices are beginning to decrease.”
Since October $150,000 of the $2.9 million LiHEAP has through federal funds has been paid out in Washington County, Finn said. Another $161,000 has been paid out in the HACAP district for emergency fuel deliveries, he said.
Earlier this week there was a push at the state level to ask for more assistance from the federal government for the LiHEAP program’s emergency fuel delivery assistance program, according to a press release from the Iowa Propane Gas Association. Finn said he hasn’t seen or heard anything about the possibility of increasing the fundin,g and it would be up to the federal government to do so.
Despite it being the middle of winter people can still seek assistance through LiHEAP, Finn said. They can call the United Way 211 program or call RenElla Crawford at the Washington County HACAP office for an application or contact the main HACAP office for assistance, Finn said.

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