If history repeats itself, Coloradans will see lots of snow this month, which means home heating will continue to be crucial. The Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) offers help to those who are having trouble affording their home heating bills.
LEAP is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services that helps eligible Coloradans from November through April with cash assistance for their home heating bills. As of February 28, LEAP had approved more than 64,000 households and the average benefit was $344.00.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Denver and Boulder area receives on average 11.5 inches of snow every March. Colorado Springs’ average March snowfall is 8 inches, and many areas in the Rocky Mountains and western part of the state often see significant snowfall this month, as well.
“Even though we’re looking forward to spring, we’re not yet finished with the cold weather this winter,” LEAP Manager Aggie Berens says. “We want to make sure that every Coloradan stays warm this month. LEAP benefits are still available.”
People interested in applying can call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to order a mailed application. Alternatively, applications are available at every county department of social or human services; most utility companies; and many community agencies, like Catholic Charities. Applications also can be downloaded from www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap.
LEAP applicants must be Colorado residents and U.S. citizens or legal aliens. They also need to provide a copy of a valid identification and a completed affidavit to comply with Colorado Revised Statutes regarding documentation of lawful presence.
Applicants also must be responsible for paying heating costs, either directly to a utility company or to a landlord as part of rent. Applicants’ income cannot exceed 165 percent of the federal poverty index. Applications are accepted until April 30.
People eligible for LEAP may also qualify for other benefits, like the Crisis Intervention Program, which helps repair or replace the home’s primary heating system; or the Weatherization Assistance Program, which improves energy efficiency in homes. Colorado also offers a rebate of property tax, rent and heat expenses to low-income seniors and disabled persons. Please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue’s website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/104PTC.pdf for more information and the rebate application booklet.
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