SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- Despite initial confusion and delayed information, Knox County announced a LIHEAP provider for the 2018 program year.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity named the Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC) the interim local provider for LIHEAP, a program that helps with winter energy bills for seniors, people with disabilities, families with children under the age of six, and disconnected households.
For Galesburg resident Linda Hamlin, who normally receives the LIHEAP funds by now it's been a struggle to pay her heating bill.
"It was gonna be a choice of either pay the whole lump sum from that month, plus then I wouldn't have been able to pay rent," said Hamlin.
She is happy to hear that relief will soon be coming.
"I'm shocked, I can't wait, hopefully we get it quicker than what we normally do because I really need it for January's bill," said Hamlin.
Hamlin will be one of 2,500 people getting help in Knox county alone on top of the four other counties the community action agency already serves.
"We are ready to take it on we have talented staff here that know the program inside out," said Shaun Pritchard, executive director for WIRC.
WIRC will begin taking applications on December 19, 2017 at 1048 E. Losey St. in Galesburg.
All applicants who meet the criteria for assistance must first schedule an appointment with WIRC. Applicants can schedule those appointments by calling (309) 837-2997 beginning Monday, December 11, 2017.
Applicants must bring the following required documentation when applying for assistance:
- Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members
- Proof of gross income from all household members for the previous 30-day income period, including the day of application
- A copy of current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days
- If applicant is renting, a copy of the rental agreement is required to verify utilities included, monthly rent and landlord contact information
- If applicant has received assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services, proof of TANF or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or SNAP, is required
All other eligible low-income households can call (309) 837-2997 beginning January 15th to schedule appointments for after January 22nd.