Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program


   
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Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program

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Overview
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is administered the by Louisiana Housing Coporation through a partnership with the Louisiana Association of Community Action Partnerships (LACAP), which contracts with local agencies to deliver services to the 64 parishes.


Federal Authorization: The LIHEAP was authorized by the Low-Income Home Energy Act of 1981 (Title XXVI of Public Law 97-35; the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981). As stated in Sec. 2602 (a) the program was authorized to assist low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.


LIHEAP Distribution Formula: LIHEAP funds are distributed to the 40 LIHEAP providers, including one Indian Tribe, through a statewide LIHEAP distribution formula. The distribution formula is based on each parish’s percentage of children (5 and younger), disabled, and elderly (60 and older). Some agencies provide services to one parish while other agencies provide services to a delivery area composed of several parishes. The Clifton-Choctaw Reservation, Incorp, is located in Clifton, Louisiana, Rapides Parish.


Eligibility is based on:

Household Vulnerability (Ref: Title XXVI, Sections 2602 (a), 2503,2605 (b)(1), 2605 (b)(3), 2605 (b)(5))

A household has to be at least partially responsible for meeting its residential heating or cooling energy costs.

Household income (Ref: Title XXVI, Section 2605 (b)(3))

Household income must not exceed 60% of the State’s median income.

Payment of benefits: Payments on behalf of clients are made to energy suppliers by the providers. The client may have the payment made to one energy supplier or may have the payment split between two energy suppliers.
Households may not be certified for assistance more often than once every six months.


Energy Supplier (vendor) Participation: Providers are required to obtain a completed Assurance of Vendor Compliance, from each energy supplier participating in the LIHEAP. The form is completed annually at the beginning of each program year.

The form assures that the vendor will:

• Credit a valid account on behalf of the client.

• Return to the LIHEAP provider any payment (or part of a payment), which cannot be credited to a valid account on behalf of the client.

• Not apply LIHEAP payments to charges such as utility or meter deposits, initial connection fees, or purchased appliances.

• Charge each client, in the normal billing process, the difference between the actual cost of the home energy and the amount of the LIHEAP payment.

• Assure that no household receiving a LIHEAP payment will be treated any differently.

• Assure not to discriminate, either in the cost of good supplied or the services provided, against the eligible household on whose behalf payment was made.

 

LIHEAP Crisis Intervention Assistance Policy: In accordance with Section 2605(c) of public Law 97-35, LIHEAP contractors will provide assistance to eligible individuals and families whose social or economic hardships are compounded by a home heating or cooling energy crisis.
The program will provide an energy payment and/or in-kind benefit up to a maximum benefit amount of $475. In-kind benefits are: fan, space heater (vented or electric), air conditioner repair, and heater/furnace repair. In cases when the repairs exceed the cost, replacement is allowable. All in-kind benefits are limited to the $475 maximum benefit amount.


Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible for LIHEAP Crisis Assistance, the applicant’s household must meet the following requirements:

  • Income Eligibility
  • Vulnerability
  • Threatened (disconnect notice) or actual interruption of utility services OR lacking a cooling/heating source
  • Faced with health and/or safety hazard

The household can receive only one crisis assistance benefit during a 12-month period. Participation in the Non-Crisis program does not preclude eligibility for the Crisis Assistance program.
Timelines: Section 2604(c) (1) and (2) of Public Law 97-35 provide the assistance to resolve the crisis be delivered to the household within the following timelines:

  • Non life-threatening crisis – Service shall be delivered within 48 hours
  • Life-threatening crisis – Service shall be delivered within 18 hours
Assistance is available on an equal basis regardless of race, color, familial status, national origin, religion, sex or handicap.