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Boreal Community Media

Energy assistance is available to low-income home owners/renters

Sep 08, 2017 08:38AM ● By Editor
By Brian Larsen of The Cook County News Herald - September 7, 2017

With the day temperatures hovering in the 60s and 70s it might seem like it is too early to start thinking about heating your house for the winter, but it’s not.

If you meet the income guidelines, energy assistance is available from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA). The low-income energy assistance program helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households.

Areas covered under the program are Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties, including the City of Duluth and Grand Portage Reservation.

During the 2015-2016 heating season, 217 Cook County residents received funds through AEOA. Primary grants totaled $166,915. Of that $35,910 was spent on crisis situations. Ten furnaces were repaired totaling $4,847.16. All told $206,853 was paid to provide heating assistance to people living in the county. 

For the 2016-2017 heating season, 214 primary Cook County applications were approved plus 43 more which were considered crisis situations. Dollars spent on primary grants totaled $198,144. Crisis funds delivered to those in immediate need came to $19,153. During 2016-2017 five furnace repairs added up to $8,502. The total AEOA grants to Cook County applicants for heating assistance totaled $225,799.

Eligibility for fuel assistance is based on household gross income. Households of one with an annual income of $25,000, or less, qualify. A household of two can make $32,692; three, $40,385; four, $48,077; five, $55,769; six, $63,462; seven $64,904; and eight, $66,346.

Homeowners and renters who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty income and live in Cook, Lake, or St. Louis counties are eligible for weatherization services. Priorities are given to households with at least one older adult, or disabled person or young children, and to customers with the highest heating costs.

AEOA’s weatherization department will offer energy audits to evaluate energy use. Exterior walls and attic insulation, along with air sealing are often done to help keep a house warmer. AEOA will also test, repair and or replace a home heating system to ensure efficiency and safety.

If you don’t qualify for AEOA weatherization services, contact the agency to inquire about private contracting with Arrowhead Weatherization on a fee basis. Call 218- 735-6818 and ask for Dave Johnson.

The energy assistance program runs from October 1 to May 31. Any household that received energy assistance last year should get a new application in September. If you are interested in applying for energy assistance or weatherization at this time, contact the Virginia office for an application and more information. The phone number for AEOA Central Virginia Office is 1-218-749-2912. 

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