The federal government is releasing just over nine million dollars in emergency funds for the Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Jerry McKim of the Iowa Bureau of Energy Assistance says the extra money will give low-income Iowans more help in heating their homes.
McKim says it mean the average one-time benefit will go from 300 dollars to almost 400 dollars. He says those who’re already signed up will be getting a supplemental payment. The eligibility is based on the poverty level set for the state.
McKim says that means the maximum income for a household of one is 15-thousand-315 dollars, and you add $5,220 for each additional family member. So the maximum income for a family of four would be $30,975. McKim says the state’s original allotment for the program was 36-million dollars, and while the new money is nice, they won’t be able to meet all the need.
McKim says with the release of these funds, they’re still at 88-percent of the budget two years ago as he says prior to the release of these funds, he had to cut the benefit by 35-percent in the last two years. McKim says the 400 benefit "is not really adequate" when you factor in the increase in energy costs and the temperatures that are colder.
McKim says 62,000 Iowans had signed up for the program as of December and he expects 85,000 to 90,000 to have signed up when the program ends on April 15th. For more information, contact the Bureau of Energy Assistance, or surf to the bureau’s website .