REAPP offers aid for energy needs

By Brian Slupski

Assistance is available for people whose incomes do not allow them to meet their energy needs.

Residential Energy Assistance Partnership Program is a national program which assists people by paying a portion of their heating bill.

EAPP recently received a 16 percent increase in its 1991 funding allocation from the federal government. The allocation for DeKalb County was originally $263,294. It is now $305,327.

Lynn Mclaughlin, an energy education and advocacy specialist with Community Contacts (the social service agency administering REAPP), said in a prepared statement, “This represents a 50 percent increase in the funding level for domestic energy assistance in DeKalb since 1990.

“Because of this funding increase, we still have sufficient money available to assist an additional 350 households,” Mclaughlin said. “The recent funding increase means that we can serve more people in DeKalb County who are eligible for assistance by covering a portion of their winter heating bills.”

REAPP is encouraging people in DeKalb County who might not realize they are eligible for assistance to apply, said Jenny Tomkins at REAPP. She said REAPP had established two permanent outreach sites, and 70 temporary sites had been formed during the last two years in DeKalb and Kane counties. She said the population in DeKalb is so spread out that it is hard to contact all those who may be eligible.

To be eligible for assistance, a household income must fall 12.5 percent below the federal poverty level. For a household of one, the monthly income must be $645 or less; for a household of three, less than $1,084; and for a four-person household, less than $1,304 a month.

Mclaughlin said some students could be eligible for assistance, but not if they are receiving money from their parents or living in the dorms. If a student has his own apartment or house, he might qualify depending on his income level, she said. Mclaughlin said that all persons living in the home or apartment would be counted and so would their incomes. The total of all the incomes would decide eligibility. REAPP does not count scholarships, grants, or loans as income, she said.

People who would like to apply for assistance can contact REAPP at (815) 758-3835.