LIHEAP In Need of Funds by Nov. 1

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URBANA – The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) reports they would need full restoration of state funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by November 1 in order to operate.

CCRPC officials say if they do receive the funds by this date that thousands of individuals and families across the state of Illinois could be without utilities in their homes. Currently, the funds have not been authorized for spending, resulting in the state not having adequate federal funds to serve the eligible population LIHEAP assists.

The organization estimates that more than 1,600 individuals and families in Champaign County will not be able to get assistance.

CEO of CCRPC Cameron Moore says the situation is a serious health and safety concern for vulnerable residents.

“Given the harsh winters we experience in Illinois, without state LIHEAP funding, it will be very difficult for families that rely on LIHEAP to survive,” Moore explains.

The budget impasse has also had an effect on individuals and families on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). This plan allowed households with low-income to manage their utility expenses. The lack of a state budget means they will not be able to participate.

Illinois law requires regulated utilities to charge their customers a small fee to fund state LIHEAP. The utilities have continued to assess the meter surcharge intended for the program and are remitting the collected funds to the State of Illinois.

Further information about LIHEAP can be found in WAND’s previous coverage of it here: http://www.wandtv.com/story/30144912/liheap-winter-heating-starting-oct-1

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