More people can now get help with their cooling bills this year. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)’s Summer Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) income eligibility range has been increased to 150% of the federal poverty level as of Sept. 1. That means a family of four can make a maximum of $39,300 per year, or $3,275 per month, and receive assistance.

The maximum amount of assistance a household can receive is $600, and the amount received is based on how much the family owes to avoid having utilities shut off. 

The deadline to get assistance has also been extended by a month to Oct. 31. 

LIHEAP began in 1980 though an act of Congress and was originally called Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) to combat the rising energy prices of the 1970s. The administrator of LIHEAP funding for the local six-county region (Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Texas, Wright and Douglas Counties) is Ozark Action in West Plains. 

People seeking to fill out an application or to get more information will need to make an appointment by calling Ozark Action at 256-6147.

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