Apply now for heating assistance
By Anna Erickson
Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, Inc., is encouraging people to apply early for the Energy Assistance Program.
Connie Warner, Energy Assistance Coordinator, said that federal funding for the program is unknown right now due to the government shutdown.
However, funding is expected. The agency typically finds out the amount of funding in mid-November.
The Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households pay home heating bills. Payments are made directly to the household’s fuel dealer.
Help will be available for all heating types as soon as funding becomes available. Assistance is based on household income for the past three months, previous year’s heating costs and the number of people in the household.Grants will range from $100 to $1,400.People who live in Becker, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Otter Tail or Wadena counties can contact their local office for an application or more information.The earlier people apply the better, Warner said. Then everything is in place once funding becomes available.Three month income guidelines are $5,673 for one person, $7,419 for two people, $9,164 for three people, $10,910 for four people, $12,656 for five people and $14,401 for six people.Other guidelines include:n Applicants may rent or own their home.n Households must provide proof of income when they apply.n There are no deductions from income.n Households may also be eligible for repair or replacement of nonfunctioning heating systems.Households should also be aware of Cold Weather Rule protection.The Cold Weather Rule helps restart service for the heating season and keep heat on between Oct. 15 and April 15. To get Cold Weather Rule protection, a person must contact the energy companies and make and keep a payment plan. If a person misses a payment the protection will be lost.The rule isn’t automatic. People need to apply and come up with a payment plan to be eligible.To apply for energy assistance go to www.mahube.org to download an application, call 732-7204 or stop by the local Mahube-Otwa office.