Illinois is using federal COVID-19 relief funds under the American Rescue Plan Act to help families struggling to pay their energy and water bills as the pandemic rages on.
The administration of Governor JB Pritzker in partnership with the The Illinois Department of Trade and Economic Opportunities is using the funds in conjunction with the Community Services Block Grant and the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to create the Help Illinois Families Initiative.
The initiative aims to help those who qualify to pay: utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food and other household necessities, according to a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Economic Opportunities.
“The Help Illinois Families initiative has an online service request form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to request remote assistance through the LIHEAP and / or CSBG programs,” the site said. Program web. “Funding may be limited in certain areas of the state and completing the form linked below is not a guarantee of funding.”
You can find more information on Help Illinois Families at https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo under the COVID-19 Resources tab.
Three of the main assistance programs offered include the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG), and Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP).
LIHEAP helps eligible low-income households pay for household energy services. This includes assistance with heat, gas, propane and electricity, according to the website. The deadline to apply for this service with the service request form is April 15th. After this date, it is still possible to apply through your local administrative agency until May 31, 2022.
CSBG offers Illinois residents the opportunity to receive support for a range of essential services, including rent assistance, food, temporary shelter, medication and more, according to the website. The CSBG remains open year round with expanded income eligibility guidelines in effect from February 2020.
The LIHWAP Advantage is a one-time limited assistance program designed to help households facing the threat of impending disconnection, who have already been disconnected, or who have overdue (arrears) balances greater than $ 250 for their services. water and wastewater combined, according to the website. Customers can request once for water and once for wastewater during the duration of the program, from December 1, 2021 to August 31, 2023.
In order to be eligible for assistance, a household’s income must be equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty line during the 30 days preceding the application. To apply, each household member will need to show proof of their past 30-day income via a pay stub, check, or copy of a check showing a fixed income amount, depending on the site.
To receive assistance with your request, the Initiative Support Call Center can be reached at 1-833-711-0374.