PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker was outside the Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity (PCCEO) building Monday morning to promote major community assistance programs for low-income families and home energy assistance available to every state citizen.
The two programs, the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG), offer expanded services to support Illinois’ most vulnerable residents with rent, utilities, food and other household expenses regardless of immigration status.
As a result, $327 million in Help Illinois Families assistance is now available.
“This year, the State of Illinois is offering $327 million in community assistance programs for low-income families. That includes the latest round of our Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant Program,” Pritzker said. “We are offering residents in need more access than ever before to vital safety net programs that can prevent them from falling behind on payments, falling into debt, or risking their ability to get back to work. Overall, this $327 million investment represents a $52 million increase over last year’s programs. It’s a historic investment to meet a historic moment.”
State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said these funds are a huge increase to what used to be offered to people coming to the PCCEO.
“Sometimes 5 or 6 o’clock, people would come out and they’d wait in line outside in this parking lot. Hoping to get a meeting the next morning, they’d spend the night hoping to get some energy assistance,” Rep. Gordon-Booth said.
Residents will have access to more utility assistance and increased availability of funds per household. Illinois is leveraging $209 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to expand relief for Illinois families struggling to pay their bills.
“This year’s record level of funding comes in part through federal COVID relief dollars and action by our own General Assembly to make sure state and federal funding can be found and made more accessible for families in need,” Pritzker said. “With more funding, we’ve increased the level of payments to individual households as well. Residents qualifying for utility assistance will see a boost in payments. From an average credit of $750 last year to now $1,000 this year.”
LIHEAP funds are available from now through May 31, 2022. Those looking to apply can do so by clicking here.