Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Dan Hopkins 303-866-6324
Sarah Bramwell 303-866-6323
(DENVER) – Gov. Bill Owens today announced that an additional $2.4 million will be provided immediately to the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) to help families faced with sharply higher heating costs this winter.
"Dramatically higher heating bills make life even more difficult for poor Colorado families. The LEAP program provides assistance to thousands of families in need throughout Colorado and this additional funding will help them as the grapple with the higher costs," Owens said.
The $2.4 million will come from interest earned on federal funds received by the state last year.
In addition to the $2.4 immediate infusion, Owens also proposed that $7.6 million be added to LEAP when the Legislature convenes in January. The $7.6 million would come from mineral and energy severance taxes paid to the state.
Owens noted that a similar transfer from the severance taxes took place in 2001.
"This is an appropriate use of the mineral and energy severance taxes. I urge the Legislature to make this one of their highest priorities when the session begins on January 12," Owens said.
Owens also announced that the federal Department of Health and Human Services today released emergency funds to the state to help with LEAP. Colorado will receive just over $1 million in the emergency funds.
Combining the three sources of funding ($2.4 immediate state funding; $1 million immediate federal funding and $7.6 proposed from severance taxes) would mean an additional $11 million for LEAP this winter.
This would mean that a qualifying low-income family would receive an estimated benefit of approximately $312 this winter, an increase of $100.
LEAP is expected to serve over 105,000 Colorado families this winter. Last year, the program helped 98,670 families.
To qualify for the program, the applicant must be at or below the 185 percent level of the federal poverty index. For an individual, this would represent a maximum gross monthly income of $1,435. For a family of two, the maximum monthly income would be $1,926; for a family of three, $2,416; for a family of four, $2,906.
The program is funded primarily by the federal government, receiving about $29 million in federal funds this year. Energy Outreach Colorado also provides funding, this winter providing $2.15 million to the program.
To apply for the energy assistance funds, contact the Colorado Department of Human Services at 1-866-HEAT HELP.
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