If your income is a little high and you can’t qualify for the federal government Energy Assistance Program, then the Reach Out for Warmth fund may be able to assist. It is available in counties across Minnesota and local agencies process applications and administer the program.
The program, known as ROFW for short, is a non-profit, community based emergency fuel fund that was created in an effort to help families and individuals that are not income eligible for the LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program. Reach Out for Warmth is also intended to serve as a last resort for residents that are facing a crisis. So applicants need to have explored other local charities and non-profits first.
Reach Out for Warmth was created by the Minnesota State Legislature in the early 1990s. Dozens of non-profit agencies administer the fuel fund year round. ROFW agencies provide families in need with emergency energy assistance bill and even furnace repair. Call 1-800-657-3710 to get more information or to apply.
Donations from the community pay for the program. Contributions are made from churches, businesses, civic groups, individuals, charities, energy vendors, corporations and even general fundraisers. In addition, the State of Minnesota, local, and federal government funds all contribute to the ROFW program. The State’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) and even LIHEAP are other contributors.
All money that is raised in a certain county will stay in that community. So if you donate then people can be assured that their contribution will stay in their local area. In addition, donations will be tax deductible. Your contribution, no matter how little or much it is, will help members of the community who struggle to keep their heat on during the winter and lights on.
A number of resources are available as part of Reach Out for Warmth program. The dozens of agencies that administer the program can provide advice, support, and referrals. They can advise applicants on the options that are available to them. Some of them include the following.
Applicants will need to meet several conditions in order to receive assistance. Some of them include the customer must have an overdue heating, utility, electric or natural gas bill. In addition, they need to be out of fuel and/or received some type of shutoff notice. So the household may still get help if they are about to run out of heating oil or fuel.
As noted, if the Minnesota household has broken or defective heating equipment then this may qualify them for grants or financial assistance too. However there are several conditions and exceptions to these criteria as well. For example, the household needs to have member that lives in the home that is age 60 or older. In addition, of course the applicant can‘t be able to pay their utility bill on their own. This aid can help low income and other qualified customers repair their heating systems that are faulty, inoperable or do not work. When funding is available, the grant amount for this can be up to $500.
The Minnesota Reach Out for Warmth assistance program is a crisis relief program. For those that do end up qualifying for it, benefits offered from ROFW include crisis payments and emergency assistance for the customers primary heating source, fuel, electricity or utility bills.
While funding levels do change on an annual basis, in the past qualified customers received up to $500 paying their heating bills. However if your utility bill is paid as a portion of rent then less money will be provided.
The bottom line is that the Minnesota Reach Out for Warmth fund is a community based program. For those that don’t qualify for government or other non-profit aid, then this may be an option to help with your energy needs. Dial 1-800-657-3710 for more details. All financial assistance paid to qualified households will be made directly to your energy provide or repair/maintenance company.
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