PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria kicked off its application period Monday for the new Utility Assistance Program, dedicating $300,000 citywide to help Peorians pay their energy bills.

The program is dedicated to help provide financial relief to low-income renters and homeowners impacted by energy rate increases. The program funding, which comes from federal American Rescue Plan funding, will pay four months of gas and electric bills directly to Ameren for qualifying families.

Eligibility guidelines for the Utility Assistance Program require applicants to live in Peoria and make at or below 80% of the median area income.

Annual household income limits are as follows:

  • Household of 1 person = $47,800 or less
  • Households of 2 people = $54,600 or less
  • Households of 3 people = $61,450 or less
  • Households of 4 people = $68,250 or less
  • Households of 5 people = $73,750 or less
  • Households of 6 people = $79, 200 or less

“We’re just trying to give a little cushion while hopefully, energy prices go down in the future or the city negotiates the contract with the utility companies to bring that cost down. I think really help to ensure our residents stay in their homes, they’re able to make sure they have heat this winter, and they’re not using alternative sources,” said Joe Dulin, director of community development for the City of Peoria.

The application window opened at 9 a.m. Monday morning and will remain open until Oct. 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Applications can be submitted online at http://appreciatepeoria.com/assistance or at Peoria City Hall during business hours.

Residents who are currently enrolled in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are ineligible for this program. Dulin said the funding should help around 500 households.

For questions about the application process or the assistance program, call 309-494-8600.