OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR______ ROD R BLAGOJEVICH GOVERNOR NEWS FOR by ramhood15

VIEWS: 18 PAGES: 3

									                OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR______               NEWS
                ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH – GOVERNOR



   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                           CONTACTS:
   October 31, 2008                                 Kelley Quinn                  312/814.1685
                                                    David Rudduck (HFS)
       312/814.6691
                                                    Annie Thompson (HFS)          217/558.1543



          Blagojevich Administration Now Accepting
             Applications for Home Energy Grants

        Governor launches “Keep Warm Illinois” and urges
         households to apply for LIHEAP starting Nov. 1

CHICAGO – As home heating costs continue to rise and families prepare for dropping
temperatures, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the launch of the Keep Warm
Illinois campaign. This multi-agency initiative coordinates state efforts to prepare communities
for high home heating costs this winter. Starting Nov. 1, heating grants will be available for all
income-eligible households through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) and all eligible families are urged to apply now before extreme cold hits Illinois.

“This will be a difficult year for winter energy costs and people are already having a problem
paying their bills,” said Governor Blagojevich. “With winter temperatures around the corner, I
urge all families who are eligible for LIHEAP to apply now so they don’t have to make
impossible choices between paying their heating bills and putting food on the table.”

On October 26, Governor Blagojevich announced $265 million in federal funding for LIHEAP –
$118 million more than last year to help more Illinoisans as energy costs rise. With this year’s
increase in federal funding, LIHEAP is expected to serve many more low-income families this
winter. LIHEAP is administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
(HFS) and helps residents, especially the elderly, families with small children, and persons with
disabilities, reduce high heating costs this winter.

“Cold days and higher energy bills are right around the corner,” said HFS Director Barry S.
Maram. “LIHEAP helps families and seniors across Illinois to defray that expense. “We want to
make sure that families know what benefits are available to help them stay warm and safe in the
winter.”
Through LIHEAP, a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program, heating bill
payments are made on behalf of households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal
poverty level. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,300, a
two-person household up to $1,750, and a family of four can earn up to $2,650. Benefits are
paid directly to utilities on behalf of eligible households, except for households whose heating
costs are included in their rent.

LIHEAP energy grant applications are processed through a network of 35 Local Community
Action Agencies around the state. These agencies started accepting applications on a first-come,
first-served basis from the elderly, disabled persons, and other priority households on
September 1.

For a complete listing of local community action agencies and additional information about the
LIHEAP grant program, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free Keep Warm Illinois
hotline at 1-877-411-WARM. For energy assistance and weatherization tips visit
www.keepwarm.illinois.gov or call toll-free 1-877-411-WARM.

The multi-agency Keep Warm Illinois initiative includes HFS, the Illinois Department of Human
Services (IDHS), the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Illinois
Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and the Illinois Department on Aging. Each agency
will provide the following resources:

The Keep Warm Illinois website (www.keepwarm.illinois.gov): The Keep Warm Illinois
website offers a variety of no-cost and low-cost energy saving tips, a web-based tool to conduct
a home energy audit, and links to energy assistance programs and other resources. The Keep
Warm Illinois hotline (1-877-411-WARM) is also available as another resource for Illinois
residents to learn how to save energy and get energy assistance.

Warming Centers: DHS will provide warming centers in every region of the state so that
anyone seeking refuge from the cold has a heated place to go when the temperature drops. More
information on the state’s warming centers is available by calling the Keep Warm Illinois hotline
(1-877-411-WARM).

Energy Savings Workshops: HFS will organize community workshops statewide through
community-based organizations and local governments. At these workshops, Illinois residents
will have access to information from energy conservation experts on how to reduce overall
energy costs. A list of energy savings workshops can be found on www.keepwarm.illinois.gov.

Illinois Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Construction Program:            The Illinois
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has grants available to non-profit housing
developers that include energy efficient building practices in the rehab or construction of
affordable housing units. These building practices often bring energy savings between 50
percent and 75 percent.

Winter Storm Preparation: Illinois experiences five severe winter storms each year, on
average. Over the past five years, 66 Illinoisans have died from winter storms and extreme cold
with the majority of those being in the 50- to 80 year-old age group. The hazards posed by
winter storms and extreme cold can be catastrophic. The Illinois Emergency Management
Agency (IEMA) will offer a Winter Storm Preparation manual that includes important
information on actions to take now that will increase residents’ chances of surviving winter
storms and extreme cold.

Senior Safety: If seniors lower their thermostats to reduce heating bills they can put themselves
at risk of developing hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature
drops dangerously low. They are at an increased risk especially if they take certain medications,
drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s
disease and Parkinson’s disease. The Illinois Department on Aging will offer safety tips to
Illinois seniors before winter begins to help them prepare.


                                             - 30 -

								
To top