Heating Assistance Is Open

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Winter is on its way and the Heating Assistance Program (HAP) is now accepting applications from elderly, seniors and disabled individuals. The Program will begin accepting all other applications effective October 1, 2008. If you receive an application in your office, please forward it to the Heating Assistance Program in Juneau, 400 Willoughby Ave, Suite 301, Juneau, AK 99801-1700. Applications may also be faxed to 465-3319 in Juneau or 1-888-282-3319 from all other areas in Alaska. Please note, if you fax the application to the HAP office, please mail the hardcopy application to the above address. The first benefit checks are scheduled to go out on November 3, 2008.

The Division of Public Assistance is now responsible for administering two heating programs; the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for residents with incomes up to 150% of the poverty income guidelines and the state-funded Alaska Heating Assistance Program (AKHAP). In May of 2008, the Governor signed the Alaska Heating Assistance Program into law and the legislature appropriated $10 million to fund the program. This program is open to eligible residents with incomes from 151% to 225% of the poverty income guidelines. Both programs use the same application and eligibility criteria.

Because of AKHAP, more Alaskans will qualify for heating assistance this coming winter. We anticipate that up to 8,000 households could qualify for the new program. Last year, HAP served over 9,000 households with incomes below 150% of the poverty limit. We anticipate that the high cost of heating fuels could result in even more applications this year for the federally-funded program.

The 2009 Heating Assistance Application was mailed out on August 29, to elderly, disabled and people who applied last year. Applications also went out to all residents receiving Adult Public Assistance and Senior Benefits. Applications are available on line at the state website at: www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/heat. Answers to frequently asked questions and a heating assistance calculator are available on this same website.

Start-Up Packets, to be mailed to a variety of social service agencies, fee agents, vendors, and DPA district offices are presently being prepared and should be mailed by September 29, 2008. These packets include applications, directions, forms, manuals and posters.

Outreach activities will include radio ads, sponsorship of the news on public radio, interior and exterior bus ads, newspaper inserts and ads, flyers mailed to all DPA program participants, posters, and press releases/public service announcements. Various outreach activities will continue through March 2009.

For more information, please feel free to call our toll-free number at 1-800-470-3058 or check out our website at www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/heat, or call Susan Marshall, HAP Program Coordinator, at 907-465-3099.