LEAP helps eligible Coloradans pay heating bills

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By Jennifer Nuhfer

Low-income Energy Assistance Program

April 30 is the last day to apply for 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. All potentially eligible Coloradans are encouraged to submit their LEAP application by the April 30 deadline. 

The LEAP program works to keep Colorado households warm during the winter months by making a onetime payment directly to the utility company on behalf of each LEAP eligible household statewide. This season, more than 100,000 households have applied for LEAP to date. Eligible households have received an average benefit of nearly $400. 

“Colorado received a record amount of funding for LEAP this season,” explained Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager. “In March, some communities saw increases of more than 50 percent in their heating bills. Funding is available to help Coloradans offset these increased costs. We encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply and take advantage of LEAP’s many benefits.”

In addition to home heating bill assistance, LEAP recipients may be eligible to receive furnace repair and replacement in heat-related emergencies and weatherization services pending the results of a home energy audit. Currently, LEAP recipients are also eligible for two temporary programs funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. 

The first of these programs is the Utility Assistance Program, which provides funds to assist with paying down past-due accounts for a home’s energy costs. Secondly, the Low-income Household Water Assistance Program provides a onetime payment to water vendors for eligible households whose account is either in arrears or shut off as long as funding is available.

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. Specific eligibility criteria can be found on our website: https://cdhs.colorado.gov/leap#leap-eligibility.

To access the LEAP application, visit: www.colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP. Online applications are processed through the CO 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.