By Madlynn Ruble
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program
Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), a federally funded program that helps eligible Coloradans pay a portion of their winter home heating costs, opened for the season on Nov. 1 and will accept applications through April 30, 2022.
LEAP helps eligible individuals and families in Colorado pay energy costs by making a onetime payment directly to the utility company on behalf of each LEAP-eligible household. Last season, 77,500 LEAP recipients received an average benefit of $550.25.
“Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows heating bills increasing this winter between 6 and 54 percent depending on the heating source,” said Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager. “LEAP can help Coloradans by offsetting these increased costs. We encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply and take advantage of LEAP’s many benefits.”
To qualify for LEAP, Coloradans may have an income up to 60 percent of the state median income level, which equates to a household income of less than $64,000 a year for a family of four. Additionally, LEAP recipients must pay home heating costs directly to a utility company or landlord as part of their rent, be a resident of Colorado and have at least one U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S. living in the household.
In addition to home heating bill assistance, LEAP recipients may be eligible to receive furnace repair and replacement in heat-related emergencies in addition to weatherization services pending the results of a home energy audit.
Currently, LEAP recipients are also eligible for two temporary programs that are part of the American Rescue Plan.
The Utility Assistance Program provides funds to assist with paying down past-due accounts for a home’s primary heating source and supportive fuel while funding is available.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) serves eligible Colorado households who pay a water vendor directly and whose account is either in arrears or shut off. LIHWAP provides funds to make a onetime payment to the water vendor directly on behalf of eligible households as long as funding is available.
To access the LEAP application and apply for the program, visit: www.colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP. Online applications are processed through the Colorado PEAK system. You can also call the HEAT HELP line at (866) HEAT-HELP [(866) 432-8435] to receive an application via mail or email.