Jamie Bradley with the Denver Department of Human Services told KUVO that thousands of families benefit every year from the LEAP program. "Last season over 123,000 households throughout Colorado kept their homes warm thanks to the program. And we think there are many more who qualify, but they simply don't know about LEAP."
"As long as the person or people living in the home meet the program eligibility requirements, we can help," said Bradley. "Last year, nearly a quarter of the people we helped in Denver were in an emergency situation and LEAP helped them pay their bill and get their heat turned back on within a matter of hours."
Bradley says LEAP benefits are available only once each season to a wide variety of residents, in amounts up to $700.00. "Leap helps people and families who live in a house, apartment or mobile home, and it doesn't matter if they rent or own."
The main factor for eligibility, says Bradley, is the entire household income for the coldest month and the largest bill residents may be facing. "Leap basis eligibility in part on monthly income and household size. Applicants must also show that there is a legal resident living in the home."
The LEAP program is especially suitable for families with fluctuating income between months. "Let's say during the month of January you worked 40 hours every week, but your hours were cut in February. You might be over the LEAP income limits in January, but would qualify for the program in February. In this case, we'd recommend submitting your application for the month of February to receive assistance. As long as the household income is below 150% of the federal poverty line, which for a family of four (4) is $2,794 before taxes, they'll qualify. And remember that household income accounts for anyone living in your home, including a parent that lives with you and your children - so make sure you're counting things like social security and child support payments.
Why the urgency now? Assistance from LEAP is limited to one payment per season, at a maximum of $700. And says the program ends in April, so applicants need to begin the process soon to qualify for this year. To apply, call 1.866.HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) to request an application be mailed to you. You can also download an application at www.denvergov.org/leap.
(NOTE: People that qualify for LEAP are also eligible to receive free weatherization services.)
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