The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low income people pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants and crisis grants that are paid directly to your utility company. You need not have an unpaid bill to receive home heating energy assistance. If you or someone you know is finding that money is tight this winter, help is available.

You can receive this money without being in the Cash Assistance program — a family of four with an annual income of up to $35,280 can qualify for assistance. This year the minimum grant has been increased to $300 from $100 to provide significant relief to households and minimize the need for CRISIS services.

The fastest way to apply is by applying through www.compass.state.pa.us or by calling Allegheny County at 412-565-2146 for an application. To apply, you will need names of people in your household, dates of birth for all household members, Social Security Numbers for all household members, proof of income for all household members and a recent heating bill.

If service is currently off to your home or an emergency repair is needed due to broken heating equipment or leaks, you can apply to CRISIS by contacting Allegheny County Department of Human Services at 1-800-851-3838.

My office is available to help you to prepare applications and I would encourage eligible residents to apply. No one should go without heat this winter, and by applying early and getting help quickly I hope our residents will remain safe and warm throughout the coming winter. Contact my office at 412-621-3006 with any questions or find more information on LIHEAP at www.senatorferlo.com.