HEAT Program now accepting applications to help residents pay for heating, weatherizing costs

Stock image | Photo by JackF/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With fall in full swing, some Utahns may already be noticing an increase in their home heating and energy bills. Fortunately, the Home Energy Assistance Target program may be able to help.

The HEAT program helps eligible households pay for home heating, cooling and other energy costs. It can also help weatherize eligible homes, improving energy efficiency and reducing costs.

“Even as Utah’s unemployment remains low, there are still many families struggling to make ends meet,” HEAT program manager Sue Kolthoff said in a press release. “The energy subsidies we are releasing this season will help more families afford heat and avert difficult choices many Utahns face between paying for heat and paying for other essentials like food and medicine.”

In Southern Utah, the program is administered by the Five County Association of Governments. As previously reported by St. George News, the HEAT program is one of the most underutilized program in Washington County.

Kolthoff told St. George News in 2017 that this could be for a variety of reasons, ranging from embarrassment over the condition of the applicant’s home to concerns of citizenship resulting in them being turned in to authorities. However, she stressed that program workers are there to help, not judge. And when it comes to questions of citizenship, as long as one family member in the home is documented, they can apply.

Even elderly people, who may be in the most need, often don’t apply, Kolthoff said.

“‘Give it to someone who needs it,’ they say, and we’re like, ‘No, you need it too.’”

Applications for assistance are being accepted now through April 30, or until funds are exhausted.

To qualify, a family must earn below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $37,656 for a family of four. Priority for HEAT assistance is given to households with the highest energy burden in relationship to household income while taking into consideration vulnerable individuals such as young children, individuals with disabilities and elderly family members.

To learn more about eligibility and how to apply, click here or call 2-1-1.

About HEAT

The HEAT program is administered by the State Energy Assistance and Lifeline office through a statewide network of local community-based organizations. Last year, the funding enabled HEAT to assist more than 29,000 low-income Utah households with their utility bills.

The HEAT program is Utah’s version of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Utah’s State Energy Assistance and Lifeline Office is managed by the Utah Housing and Community Development Division within the Utah Department Workforce Services.

Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report for St. George News.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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