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Millions More for LIHEAP Coming to Illinois

Updated: Monday, February 3 2014, 05:27 PM CST
The cycle of snow and subzero temperatures kicks up again in central
Illinois, leaving most of us keeping the heat on high. That has led to a
nationwide propane shortage; driving prices for propane about
one-dollar higher a gallon than last year.

"Low income
households have a very hard time making monthly payments and with this
price increase, it's going to hurt a lot of families," said Sharmin
Doering, executive director of the Sangamon County Department of
Community Resources. She says the office has helped almost 2,800
households with heating assistance through the low income home energy
assistance program, or LIHEAP, since September 1st. Five-thousand
households are expected to receive LIHEAP funds by the end of May.

said, "Due to the increase in unemployment, we have seen quite a few
new customers for LIHEAP." Customers like Nikita Nwajei, a single mom of
three of applying for LIHEAP to help pay her utility bills; which she
says cost up to $350 a month.

"With everything being so high
right now and I'm currently out of work, it's hard to pay all of my
bills down and also be able to provide food and everything else my
family needs," Nwajei said while filling out an application for LIHEAP.

each LIHEAP household that uses propane is getting an additional $1,000
from the federal government. A total of $454-million is being split
among households across the country; more than $23-million is coming to

Doering said, "Without LIHEAP, many families would go
without heat in the winter... many seniors, families with children and
it's one of those programs that serves a maximum number of households
and does the greatest amount of good."

The  Sangamon County
Department of Community Resources can only take 27 LIHEAP appointments  a
day and the next available appointment is in late March. If you'd like
to see if you're eligible for the heating assistance program, call the
office at (217) 535-3120 between 8:30 and 10 in the morning.Millions More for LIHEAP Coming to Illinois

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