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October 17, 2023
Governor Pritzker Encourages Eligible Families to Apply for Utility Assistance
LIHEAP Applications Open Today, October 2, for Income-Eligible Households with Seniors (60+), Illinoisans with a Documented Long-Term Disability, and Children Under 6
CHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) are encouraging eligible families to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to support with utility bill assistance for natural gas, propane, and electricity. Applications opened today, October 2, for income-eligible households with seniors age 60+, Illinoisans with a documented long-term disability, and/or children under age 6.
“As energy costs continue to rise, Illinois families deserve support to keep the lights on—and that’s exactly what my administration is doing,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Today, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity opened applications for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to supplement utility bills—especially important as we gear up for the winter season—and I encourage all eligible families to apply.”
“Through LIHEAP, the State of Illinois provides critical utility bill support for families who need it the most,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “I encourage families seeking utility bill assistance to visit helpillinoisfamilies.com today to check their eligibility and apply for assistance.”
Eligible families can apply by visiting helpillinoisfamilies.com or by visiting their local agency (a list of partners throughout the State can be found here). Families can also call 1-833-711-0374 for assistance in 30 languages.
All families who meet the qualifications and provide proper documentation will receive support until funding is exhausted. Families who earn up to 200% the federal poverty level, have a household with a senior, a child or children under 6, and/or a person with a disability are eligible to receive support through LIHEAP beginning today. A chart with eligible income thresholds can be found on the webpage and below:
FAMILY SIZE (HOUSEHOLD) 30-DAY GROSS INCOME
Additional eligible households will be able to apply for assistance during upcoming application opening periods on November 1 and December 1, and applications will be accepted through August 15, 2024, or until funds are exhausted. The energy bill assistance program offered through the Help Illinois Families Program in program year 2024 will provide $237 million to eligible families for energy bill assistance.
This year, the tiered application system was reinstated to ensure families most in need are able to apply first. The first group eligible to apply is expected to represent more than half of households that apply for the program.
• October 2 – Income-eligible households who fall under the following categories:
o Households with seniors age 60+
o Households with a documented long-term disability
o Households with children under age 6
• November 1 – Income-eligible households who fall under the following categories:
o October priority period households
o Households that are disconnected
o Households facing imminent threat of disconnection
• December 1
o All income-eligible households
LIHEAP provides one-time payments directly to energy service providers on behalf of recipients. While the amount of support varies based on the needs of individual families, last year over 311,000 households received LIHEAP, with an average of over $1,000 per household.
Additional Program Information:
The State of Illinois offers various programs to support eligible low-income families with utility assistance. These programs are open to ALL eligible low-income Illinois families who meet the criteria, including undocumented families. Programs for eligible families include:
• One-time Direct Vendor Payment: All LIHEAP recipients receive a one-time payment.
• Crisis/Reconnection Assistance: Funding is available for families in heating-related emergency situations.
• Furnace Assistance: Based on funding availability, Furnace Assistance may be provided to households that do not have an operating furnace for their residence.
• Home Weatherization Program: The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) helps low-income residents and households conserve fuel and reduce energy costs by making their homes and apartments more energy efficient.
Information for Families to Apply:
• Families eligible to apply on October 2 include:
o Families who meet the income eligibility guidelines AND have a household with at least one of the following:
Person with a disability
A child or children under 6
• To apply, visit helpillinoisfamilies.comm to fill out and submit a request for services form online OR visit your local agency (a list of partners throughout the State can be found here)
• After you submit the form, someone from your local agency will be in touch.
• Call 1-833-711-0374 for assistance at any point during the application process.
• Additional information about eligibility and criteria can be found on the website along with fact sheets in English and Spanish.
Ride United: Last Mile Delivery Program Launches February 9, 2022
United Way of Greater McHenry County is excited to announce the launch of the Ride United: Last Mile Delivery (RULMD) program, in partnership with DoorDash. RUMLD provides a “last mile” home delivery program that brings food and essential supplies to under-invested neighborhoods to help address hunger and other complex community challenges. People who need deliveries include seniors, people with health issues, neighbors who live in food deserts, as well as others who may be dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19.
Utilizing Dashers, delivery couriers for DoorDash, RULMD provides a safe and reliable way to get food to households in need and relieve stress and lines at food pantries. In 2021 alone, DoorDash has provided over 480,000 free deliveries and, based on the program’s success, has committed an additional 1.5 million free deliveries to United Way and the 211 network in 2022.
“We are thrilled to be able to utilize Dashers to provide this wonderful service in McHenry County,” said United Way of Greater McHenry County CEO Jamie Maravich. “Everyone who needs food and essential items should be able to obtain them with as few barriers as possible. Providing free deliveries to anyone in need has the potential to transform the way our neighbors get help.”
In 2020, Ride United — Last Mile Delivery’s umbrella program that previously provided only transportation access in the form of rides — expanded to include deliveries of food and essential items in response to the then-new pandemic, forming the Last Mile Delivery program. Local 211 and United Way teams work with community partners to help redefine how people facing transportation access receive needed services. Local teams and partners work collaboratively to match-make donated food and essential items to neighbors in need. Since April 2020, Last Mile Delivery has provided more than 691,000 free deliveries including 8.8 million meals, supporting over 37,000 households in need of food and essential items.
In anticipation of the RUMLD launch, United Way formed a partnership with Kids in Need of McHenry County (KIN) to be the first organization to test and kick off the program in the community. KIN identifies and provides kids in need the important resources necessary for a happy and healthy childhood. Together, United Way, KIN, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and DoorDash have been delivering meals since the middle of January.
“This collaborative partnership helps to ensure our students have food over the weekends as well as on breaks from school,” said KIN Executive Director Michelle Prickett. “The United Way is providing the home delivery of the bags of food utilizing their DoorDash grant which not only provides food stability for children in need, but a discrete way for the student to receive the food.”