State LIHEAP Bureau Chief Christine Taylor says you sign up through your local community action agency. “They can find their local outreach office through our website at humanrights.iowa.gov,” Tayler says. Taylor says the applications have been slow as people adjusted to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are finding that more folks are beginning to reach out — which is encouraging, we do want them to — because although right now the moratorium is in effect — which means their electric and natural gas cannot be turned off — those bills still accrue,” according to Taylor.
She says LIHEAP is based on income, and there are some rules for people who find themselves out of work or furloughed by the virus pandemic. “People who have recently been laid off or their businesses have been closed — that means they’ve had a drastic change in their income,” Taylor says, “which means they may not have ever been eligible for our program before, but they are now. In addition to our regular heating season, we also have crisis funds available.”
Taylor says the are prepared for many new applications. “We do anticipate a drastic increase in applications. Right now we have enough funds to handle those. We do anticipate getting additional supplemental funding from the government and should be able to help everyone who comes in,” Taylor says.
Taylor says the average payment from LIHEAP is $470, so you should pay what you can and work out a payment plan for when the moratorium is lifted. “Contact your utility company, work with them, anything you can do to show that you are making an effort will go a long way,” she says. Taylor reminds everyone that there are many other types of assistance available that you can check out along with seeking food assistance.
“Such as food pantries, clothing pantries, and other emergency services,” she says. “So, when they reach out about LIHEAP, they should ask about other services as well.”
You can find a link to information about your local community action agency by going to the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ website.