Department of Commerce secures $98.7 million in funding for the Energy Assistance Program

Department of Commerce secures $98.7 million in funding for the Energy Assistance Program

Heating Assistance payments to low-income Minnesotans will begin soon

November 13, 2013

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota will receive $98,726,312 in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP). LIHEAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of customers.

“Year after year, the LIHEAP program has helped keep Minnesotans who struggle to pay for home heating stay warm throughout the winter,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These important federal funds keep thousands of homes from losing heat and protect our neighbors from being out in the cold.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce administers the LIHEAP in partnership with 32 local service providers throughout the state. LIHEAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program helps renters and homeowners earning less than 50 percent of the state’s median income ($43,642 for a family of four) obtain grant money to help pay their heating bills.

“Energy bills during long winters with subzero temperatures can take a large bite out of household budgets and have left many Minnesotans stretching every dollar and struggling to make ends meet,” said Commissioner Rothman. “We encourage all Minnesotans who may have difficulty paying their heating bills to apply for LIHEAP assistance. Households that include children under the age of six, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are especially encouraged to apply.”

Last year, Minnesota served 147,636 households and renters with $109.6 million in federal funds. The average household income of those receiving LIHEAP funds was $16,422. Approximately 73% of the homes included at least one senior, person with a disability, or a child under the age of 18. This year, the average grant per household will be $500.

Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Funding is limited and is administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested households should contact their local service provider by calling 1-800-657-3710 or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Commerce Department’s website. The Minnesota EAP is supported by federal LIHEAP funding and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

The announcement of the grant awards to all the states from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be found on the HHS website.