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Heating assistance applications become available Oct. 1

September 18, 2003

Bismarck, N.D. - With natural gas and heating oil prices expected to rise, demand for heating assistance may increase this winter. The North Dakota Department of Human Services said applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will be available beginning October 1, 2003 at county social service offices, community action agencies, Tribal LIHEAP programs, and through other agencies that meet human service needs.

"Congress usually allocates funds for the program in the fall. North Dakota received $12.6 million last federal fiscal year, and if Congress maintains its historic support for the program, we expect to be able to meet the need," said Ronald Knutson, the program administrator for the state human services department.

Funded entirely by the federal government, the state program expects to serve about 15,000 North Dakotans during the upcoming heating season. Last year about 14,200 low-income households participated in the state program. Individual Tribal LIHEAP programs also served tribal members living on reservations in North Dakota.

The LIHEAP program pays a portion of the heating bills of qualifying households. LIHEAP funds also prevent emergency shut-offs, and pay for furnace repair and replacement, and weatherization services provided by community action agencies in North Dakota.

About two-thirds of the participating low-income households in North Dakota last year were comprised of people who were elderly, disabled, or who had young children. To qualify for the heating assistance program, a household must meet income and asset guidelines and must provide proof of income and heating costs. A two-person household earning up to $22,496 per year may qualify for the state program, if they meet all program criteria.

For detailed information, state residents are urged to contact a county social service office, or their Tribal LIHEAP program.

Contacts:

Ronald Knutson, LIHEAP administrator, (701) 328-4882, or
Heather Steffl, Public Information Officer, (701) 328-4933

 

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