Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

September 27, 2013

Over 800 families received LIHEAP assistance

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — In the winter of 2012-13, there were 811 Marion County families who received assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Only eight families who sought assistance were denied. 

LIHEAP is administered in Marion County through the Red Rock Area Community Action Program (RRACAP). RRACAP covers five counties. 

Julie Heck, LIHEAP Coordinator in Warren County, said that $343,840 received from the federal government last year was used to assist Marion County families. Heck said this amount is comparable to other counties of our size. Everyone receives the same benefits, Heck added, based upon family dynamics. Nationally, the assistance covers approximately 8 percent of families' total household heating bills each winter. 

The federal LIHEAP allocation to Iowa last year was $44 million. Heck believes that when a spending agreement is reached in Washington, D.C., the allocation for Iowa this year will be between $44-57 million. 

Payments to families are "one-time pick-me-ups," Heck said. The families appreciate the assistance.

"Our clients are very gracious about the help they receive," Heck said. 

Applications for the 2013-14 program will be taken beginning Nov. 1. For households with an elderly/disabled member, the opening date is Oct. 1. 

Income maximums for this year are as follows:

• Single-person household, $4,309 three-month gross, $17,235 annual gross

• Two-person household, $5,816 and $23,265

• Three-person household, $7,324 and $29,295

• Four-person household, $8,831 and $35,325

• Five-person household, $10,339 and $41,355

• Six-person household, $11,846 and $47,385

For households with more than six members, add $1,508/$6,030 for each additional member. 

One can apply at RRACAP in Marion County after the enrollment period begins. The office is located at 3014 East Main, Knoxville. Please bring check stubs reflecting your income over the prior three months.