The director of the program that provides assistance to low income and elderly Iowans with their heating bills is not yet sure how much money will be available this year.
Jerry McKim oversees the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP, and said the government shutdown has him a bit anxious. “I would say this year, given sort of the political environment — of course that shutdown delayed things more — I’m a little more anxious this year than I think I’ve been in the past because usually we have a better handle on what to expect,” McKim said.
The program has money to get the process started. “We have funds to fund those staff who have to do this important work through mid December, and I fully expect we’ll see an award letter in sometime I’m hoping in early November,” McKim said. He said if it takes longer to get the award, then they’d have to shut down because they wouldn’t have the funds to be able to the pay the staff to take applications.
McKim said Iowa has 114 outreach centers to help with the application process which begins Friday November first. Last year, Iowa received a little more than $51-million. The average award was $460 per household.