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More Coloradans ask for help with heating bills

2:26 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - The second week of February was a rough one, according to information obtained from the Colorado Department of Human Services. During that week, nearly twice as many people applied for assistance from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP.

The program provides help with utility bills via a one-time payment per heating season, which is from November to April.

"During that frigid week, looking at our statistics, we saw a 42 percent increase in application submissions," said Aggie Berens, Manager of the LEAP program for the state of Colorado.

Berens says that during the week of February 7 more than 4,000 people applied for LEAP assistance. The week before, application numbers stood at about 1,800. The 42 percent increase was calculated when compared to the average number of applications on any given week during the season.

The federal government funds LEAP. This year it's estimated that the program will have a budget of $41 million. By the end of February, LEAP will have given out $29 million in Colorado. The program is income-based.

"People have to be within 150 percent of the federal poverty level-and that's for a household of one, $1,436 of gross income per month; and for a family of four (can make no more than) $2,942 (per month)," said Berens.

LEAP is still accepting applications. For more information on submitting an application, click: www.colorado.gov/cdhs/leap or call the state Heat Helpline at 1-866-432-8435.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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