October 6, 2017 – The Illinois State Low Income Energy Assistance Program (SLIHEAP) is preparing to launch operations for the 2017-18 fiscal year after ceasing to operate in 2016. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development said the state-run program didn’t have any funding during the 2016 fiscal year. While SLIHEAP is preparing to get back up and running for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the federal program LIHEAP is available, which offers similar benefits.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development stated that new budget appropriated $95 million for the state program. Illinois gets an average of about $166 million a year from the federal program. Both programs help low-income families pay for winter energy services.
Sharmin Doering, the Sangamon County Community resources executive director, said, “Many of our families are already in crisis, so when you pile on something else that causes anxiety, lives crumble and this enables families to worry about one less thing.”
Shamicka Rice, a Springfield resident and mother of three, said that without the program she’d have a hard time paying her winter energy bill.
“Woo, that would be hard,” said, Rice. “It would be really hard. I would probably try to make pay arrangements, call and see if they'll take money here and there. Try to keep my bills paid and keep stuff on for my kids."
Customers are required to bring some of the following documentation when applying for SLIHEAP in Sangamon County in Illinois: Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application, a copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly), a copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information, proof of Social Security numbers for all household members and proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits.