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Shelter from the Storm: LIHEAP program helps qualifying households pay heating bills

Program assists those making 60% or less of state median income

Cold weather presents its own unique set of challenges.

Some people face greater problems than others in just trying to pay the bills and stay warm.

Robyn Walker is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Coordinator at the Economic Security Corporation in Joplin.

She says help is available to qualifying families and individuals.

According to Walker, the LIHEAP program is designed to help households that have 60 percent or less of the state median income. That means the maximum amount a family of four could make and receive assistance is $4,558 a month.

“They can get a one-time energy assistance benefit,” Walker says.

“If they use natural gas, it would be $652, tank propane would be $990 and electricity is $636,” she explains.

She adds that if if a family has a bonafide crisis –  such as a shutoff notice –  or is almost out of propane or wood, they may be able to get assistance through the Energy Crisis Intervention Program, even if they are already receiving help with their primary heat source.

But what happens when the heater suddenly goes out?

“If a homeowner’s heating unit isn’t working, we can send someone out to look at it and possibly do repairs or replacement on that unit,” Walker states.

She says the program also assists individuals in other seasons of the year.

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