Help paying heating bills in Chicago.

If you are behind on your heating bills then get information on where to turn to in Chicago for help. Programs are offered by the government, non-profit organizations, and utility companies, and resources can help families pay their bills or conserve energy.

Seniors can contact the Chicago Department of Aging for repairs, upkeep, applications for energy assistance, and home modifications. The department offers free repairs to the elderly and senior citizens who qualify. This can include maintaining or replacing weather stripping and caulking, replacing faulty light switches or fixtures, plumbing work, and more. Some of these updates, such as the weather stripping, can help families save money on their heating bills. To reach the Illinois Aging department, dial 1-800-252-8966.

Federal government cash grants as part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help pay heating bills and related winter energy services. The state of Illinois as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are the main agencies that fund the Chicago area LIHEAP program.

The Salvation Army may have funding as part of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program or they may have funds from donations and contributions from people in the community. These EFSP funds can pay housing costs such as one month’s utility or natural gas bill, rent, or more if the applicant meets qualifications. One of the main Chicago Salvation Army centers to call is located at 513 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago, phone (219) 398-2939.

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan is offered in Illinois from companies such as Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas, ComEd, Ameren Illinois, and Nicor Gas. Families can apply for PIPP or LIHEAP but not both at the same time. This will offer low income customers a monthly credit on their heating bills if they continue to stay current on new bills, so it will pay down an old balance on your account.

The Chicago Department of Housing offers the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. This can offer grants to help low income families and the working poor pay for their heating bills and can also provide for home repairs as well.





The Home Weatherization Assistance Program is available in Chicago Illinois. Free energy conservation and weatherization services are provided to low-income residents, including seniors and families with children, by local community action agencies. This resource is also known as IHWAP, and the Cook County Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) is another agency to call about this program. 800-571-2332.

Chicago Family Assistance Centers offers a number of resources for the low income and needy. Examples include Social Services, Rental help, Heating bill assistance, Employment and Training Services and more. Several centers are around the city, including at 4740 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, Illinois 60640, phone 312-744-2580 as well as South Chicago, 8650 S. Commercial Ave., Chicago, IL 60617, dial 312-747-0500. More.

General assistance is offered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The phone number is (800) 843-6154. This is a last resort, and the state can provide cash assistance and other support to families who do not qualify for other public or government aid. Another option from the department is the Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled program, which offers cash, grants for heating bills, food stamps, and medical bill assistance to the elderly and disabled.

Cook County Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) also offers utility and heating bill assistance to those families who need help. While restrictions are in place, and funding is limited, dial (312) 795-8800 for information.




Illinois Department of Human Services also administers the Homeless Prevention Program as well as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The homeless program can offer utility assistance, supportive services, and money for paying heating bills and preventing disconnections. All aid provided needs to prevent evictions or foreclosures. TANF is short term financial assistance to low-income families and pregnant women with one or more dependent children to help pay for utilities, shelter, food, and more.

The city of Chicago Emergency fund offers a resource known as Self-Sufficiency Grants. It offers short term financial aid while people gain self-sufficiency. The program can assist families and individuals with paying their heating bills, rent, and other basic needs. Single parents in Chicago, families undergoing job training, and others in similar situations may qualify.


By Jon McNamara

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