Program expands eligibility for home heating assistance



ELLSWORTH — Downeast Community Partners (DCP) has announced that it has received new income eligibility guidelines for the 2019-2020 Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) season. The income guidelines are substantially higher than in past years, which means that many more people will be eligible for the program.

HEAP, which is administered by Maine Housing, provides money to income eligible homeowners and renters to help pay for heating costs. If your heat is included in your rent, you still may be eligible. Downeast Community Partners is one of nine community action programs in Maine that has received funding. Services will be offered to residents of Washington and Hancock counties.

The amount of the heat benefit varies based on income, family size, energy costs and other factors. The one-time benefit payment is made directly to the heating vendor.

“It’s no secret that many families struggle to pay for heat during a Maine winter. We are excited to find out that the income guidelines went up and we are able to help many more people during a vulnerable time of year,” said Energy Services Director Lee Hardison.

Downeast Community Partners phone lines open for incoming calls on Sept. 18. To apply for HEAP, you must call 610-5914 to make an appointment. Applications can take up to 30 business days, from the date of the application, to be processed. DCP staff will work diligently to get you into the Ellsworth, Calais or Machias site, whichever is nearest to you, or you can request a phone appointment. Please refer to the DCP website at www.downeastcommunitypartners.org for a list of the items that must be brought to this appointment as well as the new income guidelines.

“The application process is streamlined and will be much easier for residents to complete,” stated Hardison. “I hope everyone will apply because there is funding available to help all eligible people. No one should be cold this winter.”

For more information, contact DCP at 610-5914 or (800) 828-7544.

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