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Stephenson County Illinois assistance programs.

Help with heating bills

Thousands of people need assistance for paying their heating bills, and the Northwestern Illinois Community Action Agency (NICAA), which helps low and moderate income people in Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties, has a solution for them. The organization has started a Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, which is federally funded but is administered under the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The program runs every year, starting in about November. Applications are accepted at the East Dubuque City Hall, 185 Wisconsin Ave.

There are some criteria that need to be met in order to be eligible for assistance. To qualify for funds, a one-person household cannot have a total household income for 30 days prior to the application date of over $1,354. The scales increases based upon the number of people in the home. For example, for two people, the upper income limit is $1,821; three people total household income can’t exceed, $2,289. For each additional family member, add an additional $467.50 in income.

In addition, if you do apply for financial aid, applicants need to be able to prove their need for help. They will need to provide documentation, including proof of all income for the prior 30 days, social security cards for all family members, any benefit letters, copies of recent heating and utility bills, medical card, rent receipt, mortgage statement, etc.

If you can’t make it to that location, potential clients are more than welcome to apply at other outreach sites that are located throughout the county. For an appointment at any outreach site across Stephenson County, call Northwestern Illinois Community Action Agency main office which is located in Freeport at 815-232-3141.




Emergency assistance in Stephenson County Illinois

Several other resources are offered from the community action agency. See the phone number above. Some examples include the following.

  • Golden Meals is available for seniors over the age of 60 and their spouses. Several different meal sites are located in the county. If you can’t make it to a site then home delivered meals are also provided to those who are isolated, home-bound, frail or unable to prepare meals for themselves.
  • HEAD START is for children. It is the main federally funded preschool program for children who range in age from 3 to 5 year. It can also assist their families. The Stephenson County Head Start Program services lower income families with education, health care, and social services for the parents.
  • Housing Programs provided by Northwestern Illinois Community Action Agency include down payment and rehabilitation assistance to homeowners through the Homebuyer Grant. Or apply for home rehabilitation assistance for single family home owners. This is available through the Single Family Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Grant.
  • Weatherization can assist low income homeowners and renters in making their homes energy efficient. The federal weatherization programs helps to reduce heat loss in winter and keeps the home cooler in the summer. Either way people can save money.

Freeport Area Church Cooperative can provide shelter and emergency and transitional housing for homeless adults and families in the region. The main office is at 514 South Chicago, Freeport, Illinois 61032. Call 815.233.0435.

Lutheran Social Services offers job training, counseling and support for pregnant and parenting teens. 815.235.3707

Prairie State Legal Services of Illinois is the main location for free legal aid for income-eligible persons with non-criminal issues. Dial 800.965.2902 to speak to a staff member from a law firm.

The Salvation Army in the region is located at 106 West Exchange Street, Freeport, Illinois 61032. Call 815.235.7639. The agency may have emergency financial assistance for rent and utilities, soup kitchen, and food pantry. Christmas assistance programs and meals are offered too. Case managers provide Stephenson County families a number of other resources as well, including employment assistance, job training, career counseling and more. This is one of the nation’s leading non-profits and is dedicated to helping people overcome barriers. Read Salvation Army Stephenson County programs.




By Jon McNamara

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