BALTIMORE (Sept. 22, 2010)—The Maryland Department of Human Resources will receive $1.6 million to help eligible low-income homeowners and renters meet their home energy needs for the 2010-2011 program year. This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services award is part of the $101 million national Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) contingency funds to pay heating and cooling costs.
"This funding allows Maryland to continue to provide assistance to our hard working families to meet their energy needs," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "With the assistance of our federal partners, Maryland continues to strengthen the safety net that ensures that elderly and other low income Marylanders remain safe and warm during this winter."
During the 2009-2010 program year, more than 160,000 households applied for energy assistance. The program assisted 134,000 households with an average one- time grant of $331. During the 2008-2009 program year, 144,281 applications were received and 122,254 households received assistance. The average grant during this period was $551. (Note: The drop in average grant was a result of the department receiving $21 million less in federal funding during the 2009-2010 program year.)
The need for help with heating and cooling cost continues to grow. Since the application process opened in July, the department has accepted 64,406 applications. The number of people seeking assistance out paces last year's rate for the same period by an increase of 6,457 applications, which is an 11% margin. To date, the Office of Home Energy Programs has paid $4.3 million in arrearage benefits and $12.3 million in electric bill assistance.
For information, contact the Local Home Energy Programs Office in each jurisdiction, or call 1-800-352-1446. Hearing impaired customers should call 1-800-925-4434. Downloadable applications and brochures are available on http://www.dhr.state.md.us/ohep/ . Applications for assistance will be accepted until May 31, 2011.
Source: Maryland Department of Human Resources