HARRISBURG, October 27, 2009 — Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) today reminded citizens that Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) will open for the 2009-10 heating season on Nov. 2.

LIHEAP operates by providing cash grants to help low-income households pay for home heating fuel and crisis grants to address heating emergencies.

“I’m glad to see that as Pennsylvania families continue to struggle due to the economic downturn, LIHEAP will be able to provide much needed assistance to families to keep them warm and safe in the upcoming winter months,” Fontana said.

During the 2008-09 heating season, approximately 547,000 families were helped through “cash grants” and more than 202,000 families received “crisis assistance” through LIHEAP.

For the upcoming heating season, the crisis portion of the program will open on Jan. 4.

Cash grants are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. Crisis grants are provided to resolve heating emergencies, such as furnace failures or unexpected fuel shortages. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel that they use.

After the program opens for the season, applications will be available at county assistance offices, local utility companies and community service agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging or community action agencies. Applications for LIHEAP cash grants will also be available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Residents can also contact the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, (800) 851-3838

To ensure they have the resources to heat their homes the entire winter, LIHEAP recipients are urged to keep their thermostats at 65 degrees – unless they have young children or older adults living in the home. Visit www.turnsealsave.org to learn about available assistance programs, energy conservation and home weatherization tips.

Household sizes and income limits for LIHEAP’s 2009-10 season are as follows:
1 — $16,245
2 — $21,855
3 — $27,465
4 — $33,075
5 — $38,685
6 — $44,295
7 — $49,905
8 — $55,515
(For each additional person add $5,610).