Crisis and emergency assistance from LIHEAP.
Most states offer a crisis assistance component through their Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This will provide a qualified applicant with a grant for paying their heating or utility bills in less time than alternative solutions. While the specifics of each states individual program will vary slightly, in general crisis or emergency assistance works as follows.
Funds and financial assistance will be made available during the winter or summer to help individuals who are out of options and who are therefore in a crisis situation. These individuals may be about to have their utility or heating service disconnected, they may have run out of heating fuel during the winter, are faced with extreme summer temperatures, or have some other emergency. The goal is to help a family keep their service on while they apply for other, longer term help. Some of the crisis LIHEAP programs focus on seniors, the disabled, or families with young children.
Qualify for crisis assistance
In order to qualify for help from the federal government and/or state government funded LIHEAP crisis assistance program, some or all of the following must typically be met.
- The applicant needs to be threatened with disconnection of their utility or heating service. They may have also received a shut-off or disconnection notice from their utility or gas provider.
- The individual applying for financial aid must currently have their heating or utility service disconnected, or lack heat in their home or apartment. In these cases, they will need help in reactivating their utility or heating service.
- If someone is running out of fuel during the winter, whether heating oil, kerosene, propane, wood, or other sources, than the emergency assistance program may be able to help in those situations. Usually the individuals must have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel left.
- The family or individuals must have either broken, inoperable or unsafe heating equipment in their primary residence.
Type of financial assistance provided from LIHEAP crisis or emergency assistance
This as well will depend on the specifics of your state governments Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Another key factor is the level of funding that may be made available at the state and federal government level. If you apply and meet the criteria, eligible households will receive assistance from the crisis component of LIHEAP to prevent their service from being interrupted or to restore service to the home. In addition, other forms of Crisis Assistance provided by LIHEAP may include:
- Funds to pay a heating or utility bill in order to prevent disconnection of service. This is always a better option as it is pro-active.
- The program may provide a grant for the payment of utility or heating security deposits.
- Replenish primary heating oil for the applicant.
- Purchase of portable space heater or a can to keep a senior citizen cool during the summer.
- Provide for the repair or replacement of primary heating equipment, such as a furnace, hot water tank, or fireplace.
- If the individuals or family is facing unlivable conditions, the crisis assistance can provide for the payment for emergency shelter for the individuals.
- Provision of supplemental heating equipment/maintenance and tune ups.
Apply for Crisis assistance from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The program is run at the state and local government level. Your best option is to contact the local community action agency in your area. They will be able to provide information and/or process applications to the program. Click here to find a listing of non-profits, government agencies, and community action agencies that you can apply for LIHEAP crisis assistance from.
Some of the states and their main public phone numbers are below. These agencies may also have information or referrals to intake sites. However the processing of applications for emergency energy bill assistance, furnace repairs, and disconnection prevention is usually outsourced to local non-profit agencies.
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Community Services Division, 1-800-392-8098
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Assistance, 1-800-470-3058
Arizona, Department of Aging and Adult Service, 1-800-582-5706
Arkansas, Office of Community Services, Department of Human Services, LIHEAP energy assistance crisis and public information phone number is 800-482-8988
California, Department of Community Services and Development, 1-866-675-6623
Colorado, Energy Assistance Division, Colorado Department of Human Services, 1-866-432-8435
Connecticut, Community, Energy & Refugee Services, Department of Social Services, LIHEAP Division, 1-800-842-1132
Delaware, Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, 1-800-464-4357
District Of Columbia, Energy Affordability Division, District Department of the Environment, 202-673-6750
Florida, Community Assistance Section, Office of Housing and Community Development, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 850-717-8450
Georgia, Department of Human Services LIHEAP, Division of Family and Children Services. Emergency phone number is 1-800-869-1150
Hawaii, Benefit, Employment, and Support Services Division, Financial Assistance Office, 1-808-586-5740
Idaho, Division of Welfare, Department of Health and Welfare, 1-800-926-2588
Illinois, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Energy Assistance, 1-877-411-9276
Indiana, Housing and Community Development Authority, 1-800-872-0371
Iowa, Division of Community Action Agencies, Department of Human Rights, 515-281-3861
Kansas, Social & Rehabilitation Services, 1-800-432-0043
Kentucky, Department for Community Based Services, Division of Family Support, 1-800-456-3452
Louisiana, Housing Corporation, Energy Assistance Department may refer residents to the Crisis LIHEAP program. Call 1-888-454-2001
Maine, State Housing Authority, Heating Bill Program, 1-800-452-4668
Maryland, Office of Home Energy Programs, Department of Human Resources, Crisis Number, 1-800-352-1446
Massachusetts, Division of Community Services, Department of Housing and Community Development, 1-800-632-8175
Michigan, Division of Family Program Policy, 1-800-292-5650
Minnesota, Department of Commerce, 1-800-657-3710
Mississippi, Division of Community Services, Mississippi Department of Human Services, 1-800-421-0762
Missouri, Family Support Division, Department of Social Services, (573) 751-4815
Montana, Intergovernmental Human Services Bureau, Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1-800-332-2272
Nebraska, Division of Children and Family Services, Department of Health and Human Services, (402) 471-3121
Nevada, Division of Welfare & Supportive Services 1-800-992-0900
New Hampshire, Office of Energy & Planning, (603) 271-2155
New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs, Division of Community Resources, Office of Low-Income Energy Conservation, 1-800-510-3102
New Mexico, Work and Family Support Bureau, Income Support Division/Human Services Department, 1800-283-4465
New York, Division of Employment and Transitional Supports, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, 1-800-342-3009
North Carolina, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, Economic and Family Services Section, 1-800-662-7030
North Dakota, Director of Economic Assistance Policy Division, Department of Human Services, 1-800-755-2716
Ohio, Department of Development, LIHEAP emergency crisis number 1-800-282-0880
Oklahoma, Department of Human Services, Family Support Services Division-SNAP/LIHEAP Section, 1-866-411-1877
Oregon, Housing & Community Services, 1-800-453-5511
Pennsylvania, Office of Income Maintenance, Department of Public Welfare, LIHEAP Crisis line, 1-866-857-7095
Rhode Island, Office of Energy Resources, Department of Administration, (401) 574-9100
South Carolina, Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, (803) 734-0673
South Dakota, Office of Energy Assistance, Department of Social Services, 1-800-233-8503
Tennessee, Housing Development Agency, (615) 313-4766
Texas, Department of Housing & Community Affairs, 1-888-782-8477
Utah, Division of Housing & Community Development, Utah Department of Community & Culture, 1-877-488-3233
Vermont, Office of Home Heating Fuel Assistance, Department for Children and Families, Main phone, including for crisis assistance 1-800-479-6151
Virginia, Department of Social Services, Energy Assistance Program. Be sure to refer to the crisis and/or emergency LIHEAP program for paying bill. Phone number is 1-800-230-6977.
Washington, Community Services & Housing Division, Department of Commerce, (360) 725-2866
West Virginia, Division of Family Assistance, Department of Health and Human Resources, 1-800-642-8589
Wisconsin, Department of Administration, Division of Energy Services, for information on LIHEAP heating assistance the number is 1-866-432-8947
Wyoming, Department of Family Services, 1-800-246-4221
Puerto Rico, Department of the Family, (787) 289-7600